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The Haunted ‎– One Kill Wonder (*Pre-Owned, 2002, Earache) Thrash/Speed Metal

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The Haunted ‎– One Kill Wonder (*Pre-Owned, 2002, Earache) Thrash/Speed Metal

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Given that the Haunted features ex-members of the acclaimed At the Gates, one expects superior heavy metal. But the follow-up to 2000’s excellent The Haunted Made Me Do It is simply superb. Only 38 minutes long, it's free of filler and perfectly formed. More than a simple, adrenalin-fuelled rush, One Kill Wonder’s tracks blend into one another--piercing guitars meld beautifully with vocal shrieks, and grand melodies dominate the awe-inspiring charge. The Haunted claim to be inspired by old-school thrashers like Testament, but their influences clearly stretch back to Rainbow and the Scorpions (though they eschew the showy vocals of Dio and Klaus Meine). The Eastern-tinged dual-guitar assaults of "Shadow World" and "DOA" recall the Schenker brothers at their most brutal, while the dramatic instrumental "Demon Eyes" fades out with a medieval swing worthy of Ritchie Blackmore. Naturally, One Kill Wonder is righteously heavy. Few bands can match the intensity and power of "Urban Predator," "Downward Spiral," and "Bloodletting." --Dominic Wills