The Haunted

One Kill Wonder

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"Privation of Faith Inc.," One Kill Wonder's opening instrumental track, overbearingly proves one thing: The Haunted worship at the altar of almighty thrash/speed metal kings Slayer. The clean, arpeggiated main riff swipes the sense of melody and tension from Slayer classic "Dead Skin Mask" and eventually merges into "Godpuppet," a two-minute blast furnace of speed riffing and manic drumming that would provide a nice set of curtains to match Reign in Blood's gore-stained furniture. Which isn't to say the Haunted's third chunk of wax is a blatant ripoff; cherry-picking the best aspects of one's influences and integrating them into such an entertaining, vicious, and well-written album such as One Kill Wonder isn't a crime, and it should be welcomed with open arms by any self-respecting fan of the genre. As expected, several songs, including "Downward Spiral" and the title track, possess the frantic, technical guitar riffery that adorned the finest work of At the Gates (whose former guitarist, Anders Bjorler, gets the majority of songwriting credit here); elsewhere, "Bloodletting" boasts the tense, midtempo groove of mid- to late-period Slayer and the conclusion to "D.O.A." nods to "Raining Blood" with a clashing cavalcade of cat-strangler guitar solos. The album also further separates the Haunted from their Swedish brethren, being too straightforward to be lumped in with the more progressive New Wave of Swedish Death Metal acts (i.e., In Flames, Hypocrisy, Dark Tranquillity, etc.). However, one question begs to be answered about One Kill Wonder: Is there a bad riff or a single wasted moment on the album? Not in the least -- it's lean, mean, and nasty. But there's also a ring of familiarity to it -- overall, it's not a drastic departure from its two brutally concise predecessors, The Haunted and The Haunted Made Me Do It. It's just business as usual, and the killing business is good.

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