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Strength in Numbers [Digipak] *
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Album: Strength in Numbers [Digipak] *
# Song Title   Time
1)    Fill the Darkness With Black
2)    Brute Force
3)    Spark
4)    Preachers of Death
5)    Strength in Numbers
6)    Tighten the Noose
7)    This Is the End
8)    Fall, The
9)    Means to an End
10)    Monuments
11)    Illusions
12)    Sinister
 
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Marco ro (vocals); Ola Englund, Patrik Jensen (guitar); Adrian Erlandsson (drums).
  • Photographer: Nilay Pavlovic.
  • With 2014's Exit Wounds, Sweden's the Haunted brought back vocalist Marco Aro and drummer Adrian Erlandsson. As a result, they found renewed energy and focus and delivered their best overall offering since 2003's One Kill Wonder. Strength in Numbers bears all of the band's familiar hallmarks: melodic death metal, manic thrash, and brutal heaviness. That said, something sounds amiss. While the brief instrumental intro "Fill the Darkness with Black" is a nice textural touch with its clanging guitars, thunderous tom-toms, and kick drums, it gives way to "Brute Force," the best track on the album that conversely reveals the strange box the band put themselves in here. It roars out of the gate with punishing thrash and Aro screaming and growling with pure rage. Patrik Jensen's squalling, razor-wire guitars offer manic, angular sprints and craggy breakdowns, but the tune shifts gears into slower terrain, burrowing down into straight-ahead death metal. That formula seems to follow suit on a number of tracks here, having the effect of reining the band in rather than allowing their trademark unfettered wildness to shine through. The moody intro to "Spark" gives way briefly to thrash, but then again walks back from the edge toward less impactful melodic death metal. The long bridge interlude in "Preachers of Death" blunts the impact of Jensen's initially unhinged riffing and places it more in the context of conventional grooves. The title track is a bone cruncher all the way through with some amazing blasts and fills by Erlandsson. Likewise, "Tighten the Noose" begins, carries through, and ends as riotous thrash. "The Fall" offers some schizophrenic vintage Pantera-esque riffing that keeps things interesting but "Means to an End," despite moments of sheer excitement and exhilaration, lacks consistent intensity and ultimately ends in a morass of generic death metal sounds. Closer "Monuments" can't make up its mind about what it wants to be as it melds proggy and gloomy death metal, and even grindcore. While the sound on Strength in Numbers is certainly the Haunted, the lack of tension and cohesion makes this a middling rather than essential effort. ~ Thom Jurek
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