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Made Me Do It
(Earache Records)

Well, I don't think I need to give you the longtime story of where THE HAUNTED come from (AT THE GATES, SEANCE, WITCHERY, etc.) and how much they actually mean for nowadays scene, huh?! These Swedes actually came up with a hell of a self-titled debut record in 1998 that I actually would consider the most important Thrash Metal record of the 90s, so it was pretty obvious that they would have a hard time topping that masterpiece. But let's stick to the facts first: the debut got toured a bit (USA with TESTAMENT, the UK with NAPALM DEATH, Japan too but unfortunately only some single gigs in the European ground) but the audience somehow nevertheless managed to overlook the 12-track debut as THE HAUNTED didn't make a big step forward in terms of popularity. Then they ended up loosing their awesome vocalist Peter Dolving (currently not active in Metal) and drummer Adrian Erlandsson (currently in CRADLE OF FILTH's ranks) but managed to find some quality replacement with Marco Aro (ex-FACE DOWN) and Per M. Jensen (ex-INVOCATOR) to finally start working on a new album. The wonderfully entitled "The Haunted Made Me Do It" record (nice mass-murder design...) now somehow continues the SLAYER style fast-forward vein of the previous record just adding a bit more midpaced drive to things and some more catchiness in melodies. I actually did miss Peter's very original vocals at first listenings but the new shouter is actually doing a great job to keep us Metalheads happy and actually will make sure that all you people who always wanted more AT THE GATES vocalpower in THE HAUNTED are satisfied. Also the production suggests a difference here as these 11 songs were recorded at Berno Studio instead of Fredman resulting in maybe not as thick sound but surely a more "individual" approach. The songs themselves capture the relentless all-the-way, no mercy aggression-feel of the debut (well, 'Bury Your Dead', 'Trespass', 'Revelation', 'The World Burns' and 'Victim Red'...) but also include some more dark-groove ('Leech', 'Under The Surface' and the outstanding 'Hollow Ground') which nicely out-balances the album, especially with some rather relaxed sounding effect on the melodic vocals. I suppose my personal fave pick would still be the debut if I could get away with only one THE HAUNTED album but saying that this album is inferior would be simply blasphemy noticing that it's still so much more classy than all the rest of nowadays' Thrash Metal scene! For sure one of the absolutely best records these days if you are into merciless musical violence...oh, and watch out for THE HAUNTED destroying your local club in February with NILE, CARNAL FORGE and THE FORSAKEN. What a blast!!!

Leif Jensen

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