Swedish Metal innovators THE HAUNTED have been on
the forefront of the global modern extreme metal-scene since the very
beginning of their illustrious run around 1996, when core members of the
seminal act At The Gates decided to start out a new and more Thrash
Metal oriented shape than before. While the rest of their stylistic
peers were either dormant or at a qualitative low, THE HAUNTED’s
self-titled debut record took the scene by storm in 1998 and brought
back faith and attention to a sub-genre of Metal that has grown back to
become fervently appreciated by a legion of both old and new listeners.
As a result, Thrash has been vigorously re-interpreted by countless new
artists who are currently adding fuel to the fire of the voracious
movement. Then again, THE HAUNTED never really understood
themselves as a role-model in terms of being the “typical” Thrash act
but instead often opted to take risks and challenges by expanding their
sound’s magnitude and brutally honest approach.
2004’s acclaimed ‘rEVOLVEr’ album not only saw original
vocalist Peter Dolving return to the fold but also the commencement of a
new, hungrier and more daring chapter of THE HAUNTED’s unlimited
journey through the landscapes of extreme Metal: Their impeccable way of
combining their classic ‘80s Metal influences (Metallica, Slayer,
Trouble) with an utterly modern delivery, yet always trend-defiant
attitude and very trademarked overall-sound has made the band equally
unique and essential.
2006’s ‘The Dead Eye’ showcased a partly rather
atmospheric and quite dark musical side of things for the quintet, even
though the overall heaviness and bite in the sound hadn’t been
sacrificed at all. Exploring, intriguing and ultimately amazing
audiences is a relevant part of an artist’s endeavour, so that
consequently THE HAUNTED managed to break some more new ground
throughout the album’s campaign.
Having spent countless intense roadtrips all over the
world in these last very active years THE HAUNTED have often
shown that their Metal shines at best when presented live and raw.
Consequently, it was bravely decided for 2008’s ‘Versus’ album to
return to the basics and let the powergroove do the talking: Once again
produced with Tue Madsen (who has worked on ‘rEVOLVEr’ and ‘The Dead
Eye’ too) at PUK, Antfam and IF Studio, ‘Versus’ features “No click
tracks, no triggers, no faking it” and develops a fascinating level of
dynamics and heaviness from its basic live-recording procedure. The
penetrating power of the riffs, the sharpness in the sound, the
expertise in the songwriting, the passion in the vocals and its words
but ultimately and mainly the unmistakable force to attract interest and
cause a stir amongst all contemporary fans of extreme music.
So there was much to talk about and drummer
Per Möller Jensen
was available to answer some questions. Here you can read what he
had to say to the readers of Metal-Experience.com
Your new album ‘Versus’ will be released in a couple of
weeks, so of course we’d like to ask you a couple of questions about it!
First of all, congrats with your new album, how are you?
Thank you, doing good, thanks for asking.
It’s been two years since ‘The Dead Eye’ came out,
obviously you took your time for your new record. How did you launch
into writing the material for ‘Versus’ and how much time did you spend
on the songs?
Well, we changed practice room, got into a new
environment about 20 meters from our old room, he he. We got hooked up
with some better recording equipment than we ever had, to do
pre-production ideas and so forth. We spent quite a bit of time on the
songs this time, took ourselves time to reflect over ideas.
Did ideas come easily so that you just had to write them
down or was it more of a careful composing thing?
It’s different. A few songs will be brought into
practice, pretty much complete, but for the most part they’re initially
ideas, that are being bounced between each other, ultimately ending up
as a song.
What were the goals you had in mind when you started to
record ‘Versus’, any elements you definitely wanted to have on the
First goal was to do it live. Just the band tracking all
instruments at the same time. Trying to capture something, you can’t
agree on beforehand, you know what happens when a band is playing
TOGETHER, and not against each other.
Was it a conscious decision to do it this way?
Yeah, definitely. We were going: when people go to hear our band, I want
them to recognize the sound you know…not just the notes being played.
What is the utmost important ingredient for a song
according to you and is there any typical way that a song by The Haunted
comes into being?
Songs live their own life I think…there is not just one
formula, but generally good hooks, riffs, you know, music pretty much
consists of two ingredients: melody and rhythm…if you leave one of those
out, the sauce becomes thin you know…
Who was responsible for writing the songs and the lyrics
on this album?
As always the riffs are written by Anders, Jonas and
Jensen. Dolving wrote lyrics…As far as getting everything together all
five of us contribute.
Is the music written independently of the lyrics or do
you try to reflect lyrical ideas through the music?
No, music first.
How hard was it to come up with a follow-up on ‘The Dead
Eye’ and what do you think are the main differences between your
previous albums and ‘Versus’?
Well, not harder than usual. ‘The Dead Eye’ has been
called many things by self-proclaimed music professors, good or bad. It
was our most important album in my opinion and ‘Versus’ left us with a
much bigger playground.
Could you please describe the implications of
the title ‘Versus’, what does it stand for and is there a special
meaning behind it?
Versus…as simple as that…as opposed to….on the other
Do you have any favorites on ‘Versus’, songs that you
think are somehow above the others?
I like all the songs for what they are, and how they
contribute to the whole album.
How did the recording process proceed this time, did you
work differently than on previous albums and how much time did you spend
in the studio?
Well, like I said we did all the music live, no click
tracks, no triggers….the natural way…we recorded about 21 songs in 10
days…then worked on leads and vocals.
What made Tue Madsen the perfect man for The Haunted and
have you ever thought of working with someone else? Or do you guys feel
more like 'never change a winning team'?
Yeah, working with Tue is cool, relaxed but still
dedicated…good times. Who knows what we’re going to do in the future?
In which things/songs on the new album can one clearly
hear his vision and ideas?
We pretty much came in with the vision and the idea; Tue
captured all that audio wise and mixed it.
Have you received any feedback on your album yet?
Yeah, seems to be very positive overall.
Are third party opinions (press, fans, etc.) on your
music important to you? Or are your music and the band the only things
Well, they are, but only once the work has been done and
the music is presented. During the time we’re writing we’re going for
what WE feel is the right/honest thing to do. That’s what we are about,
and we’ve taken lots of bruises for that. Some people want us to sound
the same as what we did 10 years ago??? Why bother doing more albums
then? We follow whatever is in our hearts to do at the time…That’s why I
consider us to be just the opposite of sellouts, we take
chances…challenge ourselves and the listeners by moving back, forth and
to the sides…
Overall, are you pleased with the outcome of
the songs or would you have liked to have changed anything in
In retrospective I would always like to change things,
but that’s part of the beauty of music, you capture what it sounded like
at that particular time, it may sound different a year down the line.
With all the touring and six albums under your belt, how
far has The Haunted surpassed your original dreams and what would you
say is the most rewarding part of being in the band?
Most rewarding part for me is playing live…that’s what
it’s all about. As far as dreams and such…I don’t know if we’re supposed
to be happy with how far or short we have come.
Can you name the highlights and low points throughout
Me personally, pretty much giving up on music and life in
general around 1997 was my lowest point, my highest point has been the
times when we’ve played with some of the bands that I grew up listening
to and making good friends with them.
What is your opinion on the in metal-scene these days, is
there anything missing?
I don’t like the state of the current scene; all albums
tend to sound pretty much the same, production wise, and even music wise
in many cases. It’s very generic…Some bands stand out though and offer
something new to the table.
Which album has been your biggest musical influence, one
that made you think "this is what I want to do!"?
Kiss Alive II
How would you describe your own music and what are your
musical influences, are there any particular bands that’ve been a big
influence in your song writing, metal or otherwise?
We play loud, aggressive and yet emotional, melancholic
I listen to all types of music…some are influences, some are just for
joy: John Coltrane, Kyuss, Joe Henderson, Metallica, Black Sabbath, King
Crimson, Slayer, Amy Winehouse, Miles Davis, Cirith Ungol etc.
What do you get up to in your off-time at home, when you’re not
I’m spending time at home with my girlfriend and two
mastiff dogs. Try to jam occasionally with friends, giving drum
lessons….apart from that – not much. Just living.
How do you see the future of the band, what can we expect
in the near future, any tours coming up?
Nobody can predict the future, we take things as they
come….So far we seem to be going out on tour from October…all shows will
be announced on our homepages.
Any last statement you'd like to add?
Just thanks for the interview…I love Holland, can’t
believe I don’t actually live there.
By Per Möller Jensen
Peter Dolving - Lead Vocals (1996 – 1998, 2003 - present)
Anders Björler - Lead Guitars (1996 - present)
Patrik Jensen - Rhythm Guitars (1996 – present)
Jonas Björler - Bass (1996 – present)
Per Möller Jensen - Drums, Percussion (1999 – present)
Former members :
Adrian Erlandsson - Drums (1996 – 1999)
Marcus Sunesson - Lead Guitars (2001 – 2002)
Marco Aro - Lead Vocals (1999 – 2003)
The Haunted (1998)
The Haunted Made Me Do It (2000)
One Kill Wonder (2003)
The Dead Eye (2006)