The Haunted - 07/09/2008

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 album?
 

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 side….
 

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 that matter?
 

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 retrospective?
 

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 your career?

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 melodic metal.
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 playing music?
 

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

 

 

 

Members :

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)

 

Albums :

The Haunted (1998)

The Haunted Made Me Do It (2000)

One Kill Wonder (2003)

rEVOLVEr (2004)

The Dead Eye (2006)

Versus (2008)