The Haunted - _Versus_
(Century Media, 2008)
by: Jackie Smit (
With the past twelve months seeing half the band devoting much of their time to continent-hopping in order wheel out At the Gates classics in the name of a reunion, you'd be foolish not to at least mildly suspect _Versus_ of being a rush job. Thankfully however, it turns out that the old modicum of a change being as good as a holiday has been thoroughly applicable in this case. The opening salvo of "Moronic Colossus" and "Pieces" is a decided step up in quality and several fist-pumping leaps up in heavy over The Haunted's last platter, 2006's _The Dead Eye_ -- a record which seemed to grow more banal with every listen. Riffs are sharper, quality hooks abound and Peter Dolving sounds fiercer and more menacing than he has since perhaps the band's debut, the traditionally tinged "Ceremony" and stripped-to-basics brutality of "Crusher" being particularly strong examples of this. While it could be argued that the band run out of steam toward the very end of the record, by the time the quality does show signs of waning, they've already done more than enough to catapult themselves back into the upper echelons of modern metal; where they sit very comfortably indeed.
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