When a band decides to experiment with its sound, that experimentation can either further its career or completely backfire. The latter is the case for Sweden's The Haunted and their sixth release, Versus.
On the verge of conquering the underground-metal scene following 2004's rEVOLVEr, The Haunted shot their wad and stretched their music thin. If 2006's The Dead Eye was a disappointment, Versus could very well be career suicide.
European metal is best known for its progressive and multi-metered sound and not for its commercial successes. But with Versus, The Haunted make no bones about rolling the dice and trying to make it big on rock-radio playlists.
Before recording the album, The Haunted decided that they wanted Versus to have a live feel. In doing so, they eliminated the use of click tracks and other technologies that are commonly used in the recording studio. If Versus is supposed to be a statement about the band keeping it real, then it is also a statement about them being unable to stay in sync with each other.
While trying to dive into a non-European verse-chorus-verse style of song structure, The Haunted manages to rip off other bands in the process. "Moronic Colossus" should earn The Haunted a slap from Agnostic Front, and the chorus to "Rivers Run" is an electric copycat of the Days of the New track "How Do You Know You?"
Long story short: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.