Reviewed By Justin Donnelly
Published 25 June, 2010
Life on the road! Who'd wish that upon themselves?
With Swedish (Gothenburg based) melodic death metal/thrash act The Haunted still out on the road in support of their album Versus (Released in 2008), and the prospects of a new album still some time away, the band have decided to tide fans over with a new live C.D./D.V.D. package entitled Road Kill.
In some ways, Road Kill is very much the type of release that we’ve come to expect from metal acts these days, with the contents split between live footage and a D.V.D. But while the format is relatively straightforward, it’s the actual content where The Haunted distances themselves from the tried and true formula of most within the metal scene.
Starting out with the D.V.D. side of things, Road Kill begins with the 64 minute documentary/road movie Road Kill – On the Road With The Haunted.
Unlike many documentaries, Road Kill – On The Road With The Haunted isn’t a trip down memory lane with past and present members of the band recounting their rise to fame and the trials and tribulations of getting to where they are today. Instead, this is primarily a gritty and realistic view of what it’s really like living life out on the road with The Haunted, and just how hard the life of touring can be both physically and mentally.
Primarily shot and directed by guitarist Anders Bjorler, with help coming from the rest of the band (who are vocalist Peter Dolving, guitarist Patrik Jensen, bassist Jonas Björler and drummer Per M. Jensen) on handheld camcorders, the footage is quite candid, with the various interviews (the band talking with each other, and other members of the band’s entourage taking about various aspects of the band and members) coming across as both real and without inhibition. Former vocalist Marco Aro (who was in the band from 1999 through to 2003) provides some real depth to the band’s story, while members of Darkest Hour, Funeral for a Friend, Killswitch Engage and Municipal Waste openly discuss their experiences with the band to help flesh out the film.
At times, the documentary is quite funny (Dolving is by far the most band’s most outspoken and extroverted members, and therefore gets most of the laughs), and at other times, quite revealing. But Road Kill – On the Road With The Haunted overall is an absolutely captivating watch, and a fascinating behind the scenes look into life as a touring metal act, without the gloss and sheen fans have become accustomed to these days.
Next up is the live show Live at Melkweg – Amsterdam 2009. Running for a little over forty minutes (consisting of ten tracks), and shot professionally, the concert is a must have for fans who have long felt cheated with what was originally presented on the band’s first D.V.D. The Haunted - Caught on Tape from 2002. The band themselves are in top form (especially Dolving with his banter between the songs), with the tracks (especially the ones selected from 2006’s The Dead Eye and 2008’s Versus) taking on a whole new lease of life in live form. In short, this is a blistering performance from the band.
Finishing up the D.V.D. are all six promotional video clips (All Against All, No Compromise, The Flood, The Drowning, Moronic Colossus and Trenches) from the group’s last three releases.
On the audio side of things, there’s the complete audio for the Amsterdam show, which includes an extra six tracks over the visual show, all of which pre-date Dolving’s return to the band, and The Haunted’s eventual move to their current home at Century Media Records. The concert, much like the D.V.D. itself is a great live recording (and far superior to 2001’s Live Rounds in Tokyo effort), with Dolving dispelling any doubts about his ability to do the Aro era songs justice with his take on D.O.A. and Bury Your Dead. It’s a shame that the full show wasn’t presented on the D.V.D., but at least we can be thankful that the complete audio itself is included here within the package.
Finishing up the C.D. are five studio tracks from the Versus sessions. While some have surfaced on various issues of the album (Sacrifice, Meat Wagon and Seize The Day), both Walk On Water and Infernalis Mundi are presented here for the first time.
All of the songs are quite strong, with the mid-paced pair of Meat Wagon and Walk On Water the pick of the group. As to Infernalis Mundi, well all I can say is that it’s different, and not something you would expect from a band like The Haunted!
Road Kill has everything you could possibly ask for in terms of documentary footage, some live performances, promotional video clips and some unreleased studio metal. In the end, all I can say is that if you’re a fan of The Haunted, then Road Kill is absolutely essential.
(Century Media Records/E.M.I. Music Australia)