One Kill Wonder
One Kill Wonder is a splattered canvas, a bloodthirsty, mad-eyed Haunted rage through 11 tracks of flailing death metal that sounds classic and somehow very fresh at the same time. I would wager it has to do with the strength of their convictions; I picture veins bulging and wounds opening spontaneously. The only audible antecedents I can pick up on are prime Slayer and Entombed at their finest and most enraged, circa the Crawl EP. In fact, the vocals bear a striking resemblance to a young L.G. Petrov, if not a little more nimble and hardcore-noise influenced. Old and new blend seamlessly into a rabid whole.
The instrumental “Privation of Faith Inc.” begins with eerie overtones of Slayer’s monstrous Seasons In The Abyss. It’s a good sign. Ditto is the “War Ensemble” and the rolling thrash bursts that begin “Godpuppet.” If anything, it’s even a little bit more feral and spittle-flecked from that Slayer gem. Much of that must be the result of the raw, wide-eyed-with-lycanthropy vocals of Marco Aro, like a cross between Jeff Walker of Carcass and Rollins in Black Flag. “Shadow World” crosses steroid-crazed death metal with more tasteful NWOBHM/power-metal flourishes that only seem to refine the malice down to it’s liquid essence.
“D.O.A.” adds a more militant hardcore tinge to its stutterstep metal lunges. “Demon Eyes” glows with a bruised groove, briefly bringing to mind Alice In Chains before the whole track grows large metal claws and explodes in a fit of murderous intent, classic thrash style. No vocals, just all tone and tempo changes, the likes of which would put even the Pixies to shame.
“Shithead” has some nice hints of old Pestilence but with a more twisted, urban “American Psycho”-esque outlook. That’s the crux of the matter with the Haunted, the sickness that humans enact ‘pon one another is far worse than any demon or shade could ever dream up. Slayerisms abound on “Bloodletting.” As do some fab guitar solos. Excellent. In fact, they’re probably more Slayer than Slayer themselves these days.
One cannot overstate just how unhinged and violent the music of The Haunted comes off, even to one whose ears have been pummeled into submission by every form of musical extremity over the last decade. There are still new tricks to be learned.
Earache Records: www.earache.com