One Kill Wonder

The Haunted

Earache, 2003

http://www.the-haunted.com

REVIEW BY: Benny Balneg

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/21/2006

Barring the release of Christ Illusion, one could attribute Slayer's steady decline from the elite echelons of the metal world to their age and longevity. 22 years since their first album must have finally taken its toll on their songwriting, proven by Diabolus In Musica and God Hate Us All. Apparently, rarely does a musician age like fine wine.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Swedish metal unit The Haunted are relatively young as a unit, but their third album, One Kill Wonder, already sees the band rehashing riffs and running out of fresh ideas. They may have released blistering thrash and catchy Gothenburg melodies in S/T (1998) and The Haunted Made Me Do It (2000), but they have churned out a pretty uninteresting effort with this release. One really has to wonder if they're taking the Slayer route so soon.

Don’t get me wrong, the album still produces solid, heavy-as-fuck numbers worthy of The Haunted name. One thing the band cannot be faulted at is their red-eyed intensity on every song, made more virile by crisp and punchy production corutesy of Fredrik Nordstrom. Opener "Privation Of Faith, Inc." heavily draws from "Seasons in the Abyss" by Slayer, with that undeniable Middle Eastern tinge and brooding spaces in between riffs.

"Shadowworld" is the highlight of the album, with memorable guitar lines Swedish metal is known for. "D.O.A" starts with a sample of marching soldiers, which then makes way for chugging, ass-ripping riffs.

So, what actually went wrong with this release? Clearly, the songwriting is obviously uninspired and worn-out. The intention to write heavier stuff may have taken its toll on the songs, which include stinkers like "Godpuppet" and "Urban Predator."

The band is obviously torn between having to write a heavier album while keeping their trademark melodies intact, despite the fact that they were able to do it in the past. "Shithead" may be the lone track that is able to channel the band’s intention to balance heaviness and melody, but the song isn’t really memorable in itself.

Ultimately, One Kill Wonder shows the band in need of some excitement in its music, and fast! And Slayer still rules.

Rating: C

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2006 Benny Balneg and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Earache, and is used for informational purposes only.