Reopening Wounds: The Return Of The Haunted

European metal received a massive adrenaline injection in the late ’90s when The Haunted exploded out of Sweden, and with their new album, Exit Wounds, the ferocious fivesome have delivered an equally huge energy shot.

Fast and aggressive, the album marks the return of singer Marco Aro, previously a member from 1999 to 2003. In a unique, revolving-door scenario, his predecessor Peter Dolving also served two terms, from 1996 to 1998 and then from 2003 to 2012.

“Me and Pete are tied now, ha ha!” chuckles the Viking-sized Marco. “It’s funny, I wasn’t thinking about returning to The Haunted: I was done with it. But [guitarist] Patrik Jensen called me up last year and said, ‘You know what I’m going to ask you?’ and I told him ‘Dude, don’t even ask! I’m not interested.’ But then he laid out the format for 2013 and onwards, and I asked him for a few weeks to talk to my family and my other band, The Resistance, so everybody would be on board and there wouldn’t be any grumpy faces.”

Grumpiness is nowhere to be seen. Exit Wounds is the sound of a rejuvenated band having the time of their lives. Marco is joined by founder members Jensen and Jonas Björler (bass), while long-time drummer Per Möller Jensen has been replaced by the returning Adrian Erlandsson, and guitarist Anders Björler by Six Feet Under axeman Ola Englund.

“The vibe is really good in the band: it’s back to where we were, five friends having the time of their lives,” says Marco. “There was never a lack of fun in this band! We had some crazy shit going on in the early days. The main reason I quit was that I was addicted to cocaine and amphetamines. It was like having three love affairs – with music, family and drugs – with one of those love affairs doing its best to kill you. I was killing myself. Now I’ve been clean since 2003.”

Asked whether there’s still money in extreme metal, Marco explains, “The great thing this time around is that our lives don’t depend on it any more. We all have jobs. Also, we’re not prepared to do just about anything for money. We’ve done all those tours in Europe when you sleep in some punk rocker’s house for four weeks, using your shoes as a pillow. We’re done with all that! Why not play one festival where you reach 2,500 people in a single set, instead of doing two weeks to reach the same amount?”

Exit Wounds is out now via Century Media

Joel McIver

Joel McIver is a British author. The best-known of his 25 books to date is the bestselling Justice For All: The Truth About Metallica, first published in 2004 and appearing in nine languages since then. McIver's other works include biographies of Black Sabbath, Slayer, Ice Cube and Queens Of The Stone Age. His writing also appears in newspapers and magazines such as The Guardian, Metal Hammer, Classic Rock and Rolling Stone, and he is a regular guest on music-related BBC and commercial radio.