"We've put out quite a few different albums, so we're going to surprise some people no matter what we do. We need to make albums that we're happy with ourselves." - Jensen
Launched in 1996 by guitarist Jensen, bassist Jonas Björler and drummer Adrian Erlandsson, The Haunted enjoy a cult status in the metal world, boasting a diverse catalogue of material that would have left other bands digging their own grave. Whether the band's continued success is due to an open-minded fanbase, stellar musicianship, or an infallible sense of timing when it comes to releasing new material - perhaps a combination of all three - The Haunted continue to be an unpredictable and beloved force to be reckoned with in spite of the curveballs thrown at their loyal followers and the line-up changes since releasing their self-titled debut in 1998. Their new album, “Strength In Numbers”, is the latest testament to that claim.
“Strength In Numbers” is the all-important follow-up to “Exit Wounds” from 2014, which saw the entrance of Ola Englund (guitars), and the return of Marco Aro (vocals) and Adrian Erlandsson after their respective 10 and 14 year absences from The Haunted’s line-up. Based on the strength of “Exit Wounds”, which was considered a fine return to form by critics and followers, the band took their time in creating a worthy successor.
"We've been writing the new album for a long time and we had a lot of material," says Jensen. "We got Ola more involved in the writing process this time out; he came up with a lot of material and we wanted to make sure we didn't rush things with this one."
“Strength In Numbers” was produced by Russ Russell (Napalm Death, Dimmu Borgir, The Exploited, etc.) which created a different vibe compared to The Haunted's previous work with Tue Madsen. Because we live in the digital age and the band members aren't able to gather regularly, a lot of the song arrangements for “Strength In Numbers” were completed before the band entered the studio; Russell was responsible for getting the best out of what they had to offer. Having an outsider's view and a fresh set of ears, he decided where to push the new songs and where things should be held back, resulting in the aggressive sound The Haunted wanted to achieve this time out.
The Haunted has always been a democratic band and very consensus oriented, focusing on who has the best ideas so nobody in the band feels they've been left out. According to Jensen it's a much more creative way of doing things by bringing everyone along for the ride. The end result is a nine album catalogue with a liquid sound, yet each outing features elements that are distinctly The Haunted.
"That's the cool thing," Jensen agrees. "We've been doing this for 20 years, so you have to throw curveballs every once in a while. One guy might contribute more on one album than on another, so you end up with different dynamics, and I think you gain from that as a band. We do have a foundation for our sound even though it is liquid to a certain extent from album to album. Fans should be able to hear that it's still a Haunted riff. The best songs are usually the ones where everyone gets involved."
“Strength In Numbers” continues The Haunted's legacy of remaining diverse without diluting the sound that seeded a loyal fanbase two decades and will surely also impress new listeners not only by its compositional class and performance prowess, but also by its relentless heaviness, the displayed atmospheric intensity and the material’s consequential imminent impact.