Melodic death metal

The Haunted, rEVOLVEr

“No Compromise,” “99,” and “All against all” are the best,with “No compromise,” easily in the top 20 of my favorite songs songs of all time– which actually led to this review: I figured, “If this song is on this album, the whole thing must be worth investigating, right?” And you know what? It is.

rEVOLVEr is the perfect marriage of singer Peter Dolving’s manic lyrical brilliance coupled with an unusual/off-kilter delivery and his hardcore punk-ish-but-not-somehow sounds, and the Björler twins’ thrash-death tastic riffing and soloing; both were balanced here– after this record, Dolving jumped the shark (he’s the hardcore punk who was too off-med/weird to front a band in 1988); but time had not yet finally caught up with him here.

cd-novo-importado-the-haunted-revolver_MLB-F-3084090143_082012Dolving was, essentially, the Agnostic Front/ Cro-Mags‘ unmedicated frontman with, essentially, At The Gates. Nice production, too: ultra-clear, like Arch Enemy‘s: must be a Swedish thing.

Dolving doesn’t do as well —nearly as well– while being slower, or softer, or singing over acoustic pieces; his pompous overstatement –not unlike Danzig’s, one suddenly forefront– overshadows his fury. It’s rare on this album, however, and quickly forgotten. It does become a problem on later releases, but that’s beyond the scope of this review.

“All against all,” and the bonus tracks “Fire Alive,” and “Smut King” reflect the very-distant but still-present Pantera image; the spirit of Vulgar Display of Power, but without the somehow-complete prostration thereto:

“Abysmal,”  at about 3:45, fades out, with regret, like Trouble’s “All is Forgiven,” and just as hauntingly….

“99”: the best of the reverse-gallop thrash tunes, and/or an even tighter Sepultura– tight solos, though however rare, and ones suggesting restraint– sounds like, almost, a Sepultura/ Vio-lence covers album: the best of the fury of youth, coupled with the best songwriters that they love.

At The Gates, live at The Fillmore, NYC, 2009

I know this is old news– re-united Swedish melodic death metal heroes At The Gates playing the Fillmore in NYC during their reunion tour– but, frankly, as many times as I watch this, I’m amazed, gratified, made euphoric, et cetera, by this footage.

This is the ideal of any art form, let alone metal: (probably) literally EVERY member of the crowd present knew EVERY Goddamn word of this song– I hate hyperbole, but I got goosebumps and felt the pure greatness of metal as an art form upon watching this (and this was years ago; its EPICness is so obvious as to beckon this post).

[Here’s another angle, too.]

ArchEnemy, Khaos Legions

Okay, admittedly the whole “band adopts a uniform, joint specific image” thing they’re doing with the whole “slogan on the shirt” thing– that’s cheesy. And yeah, it’s not really death metal, as they like to claim, not even melodic death– it’s a really pissed-off Queensrÿche with a female, death metal-styled vocalist.

Yeah… yannow what? That’s Goddamn cool.

They’re detuned to C, they have Queensrÿche-worthy solos, they’re aggressive as hell… who cares if it’s virtually the same as Rise of the Tyrant?

Cherrypickers: “Under Black Flags We March,” Rage Against the Machine blended with Queensrÿche (progressive righteous indignation?), “City of the Dead” opens with a snaky, Pantera-meets-phantom-of-the-opera lick, “Cruelty Without Beauty” manages to combine Slayer and Geoff Tate and Co., yet closes with blastbeats….  “Cult of Chaos” is a D-beat Megadeth– Mustaine’s melodic, near-pop sensibility, with blastbeats, “Thorns in my Flesh” riffs out with, literally, the best of them, “Vengeance Is Mine” opens and closes with a caffeinated-crackhead-Mötorhead riff….

[Also? Particularly well-produced. This thing is crystal-clear, every part just sparkles.]

Top 10 of the year, easy. Prolly top 5.

Yeah Rowdy! Hit that shit! (For $7!!!!)