I gathered with little more than 100 or so metalers the other night to catch the staggeringly splendid, thrashy, Swedish metal band, The Haunted, at the Masquerade in Atlanta. Despite the not so great turnout, the band played a pulverizing set to a youngish crowd, which had a lot of heart and made the Swedes very welcome, like they tend to do here in the South. My imaginary friend Eddie didn’t show. The heaviest music he digs is Limp Bizkit and No Doubt. I was surprised that the crowd was so youthful and pint-sized. More often, your average headbanger is tall and skinny like the members of the Haunted or short and buff with tattoos. And almost always, they are ancient-style old and Geezer Butler-like. In the mosh pit (not sure if that that term is still in use), there was a plump young lady holding on to a large purse and a little skinny stick figure boy who was so rambunctious that some other dudes knocked him to the floor. The spastic stick figure boy was fortunate that the security guys with the big hoop earrings pulled him away ‘cause one of those other little dudes was going to sock him. You could see that coming. There was also the bearded, long-curly-haired troll-like man wearing a skirt. It could have been a kilt, but it looked more like a skirt. Either way. He was not in the mosh pit, but jumped up and down doing the devil horn finger salute.
The singer of the Haunted, Peter Dolving, was very charismatic and grateful for the warm reception, while the rest of the group were your classic, garden-variety metal dudes of the long, wavy hair and monotonous headbanging. My wife has a friend who has dated ten or so of these guys, almost always with the long, wavy hair (usually Dutch metalers, ‘cause she lives in Holland). We can never tell them apart.
The Haunted play speedy, complex thrash and also have some soft-loud, Poison the Well-type songs. They are not dissimilar from fellow Swedes Arch Enemy, but faster, more pissed and a bit uglier. If I may offer a criticism for one of my favorite bands, I would suggest that they spend a little more time on the lyrics. There’s too much black heart/rotting carcasses/immoral savagery/human debris/sickness and scars metal clichés in their screamed verbiage. What about a song about a favorite kitty or what a pain it is to take out the trash? Those subjects can be dark and evil too.