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WLM Reviews: The Haunted – Strength in Numbers

August 26, 2017

The Haunted get a bad rap sometimes. I understand that some fans of At the Gates were (and still are) upset about that band’s demise and transformation into The Haunted. Get over it already, especially since ATG returned a couple of years back.

I like The Haunted. I even use the opening bars of Bury Your Dead as my phone’s ring tone. With Strength in Numbers (Century Media), The Haunted is now on album number 9, cranking out one about every other year. One thing I appreciate about the band is I know what I’m going to get, yet they seem to throw in a surprise or two every time around. The Haunted’s brand of Metal takes elements of Thrash and Melodic Death combining them into a sound that is usually an enjoyable listen. Strength in Numbers continues that record. Clocking in at just 38 minutes, I wouldn’t have minded another song or two. As it is, though, it sounds like the band has really found their footing a couple albums after the poorly received Unseen.

With an opening salvo of Brute Force and Spark, I’m finding a lot to like about this album. The Haunted continues to churn out well done riffs, aggression, and memorable tracks. Nary a hint of clean vocals is in the picture, although there are some nice instrumental melodies weaving their way into the killer tracks. Speed is not of the essence on Preachers of Death, but it’s not necessary. The song has a fantastic riff, a killer solo, and a nicely melodic chorus that is a great balance. Vocalist Marco Aro delivers his lines with an effective growl. The ending of it dovetails right into the title track. Strength in Numbers, once it gets going about a minute in, features a groove laden riff, some nice bass work from Jonas Bj√∂rler, and a slightly different song structure to keep things fresh.

The Haunted launch into Tighten the Noose, a non-stop 3 minute blast of brutality and aggression. There is not a lot of finesse in this one, just a head down, pedal to the Metal, full speed ahead crusher. This is the End has a very cool riff, although it might be one I would have associated with a Nu-Metal band if I didn’t know better. A slower paced entry, the “bendy” guitar work is sort of entrancing. Definitely enjoying it along with the Doom-like chorus. The Fall also features some great riffing, more of a staccato and complex approach. I really like the time signature changes the band explores. Means to an End is perhaps the least compelling song on the album. I suppose the chorus riff is decent, but the song as a whole is comparatively lackluster. Closing track Monuments is the most different song here. It flows well from section to section and has drifting passages and almost epic sounding parts.

Here is Spark:

In all, Strength in Numbers is a good recording from The Haunted. I’m not going to put it up there with Made Me Do It or Revolver, but it is a quality work above some of their other albums. For a good dose of DeathThrash, be sure to check it out.

I hear the sound in a Metal way.

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