Album of the Year 2017 – Number 21

Welcome to day 10 of my ‘Album of the Year 2017 top 30 countdown’.

Today is the last pick before I march headlong into the top 20. Excited? Interested? Annoyed? Angry? Whatever your thoughts on my choices so far, please don’t be afraid to air them. I enjoy the conversations and find it as intriguing when you disagree as when you agree. I won’t be afraid to have a friendly verbal joust with you, so let me know what you think.

So far, the choices seem to have been positively received but there are 21 picks still to come. As such, the potential for a disagreement or two remains quite high

If you’re late to the party and have missed any of the previous posts in this series, links can be found at the bottom of this post along with links to the entire countdowns from previous years.

On that note, let’s get on with things and reveal the next choice of 2017…

Number 21

cover

The Haunted
Strength In Numbers
Century Media Records

“‘Strength In Numbers’ features the ubiquitous brutality and menace that all The Haunted records have delivered. The quasi-thrash-meets-death blueprint also remains intact as does the insane amounts of groove and the cleverly subtle use of melody. This isn’t pure thrash metal, it isn’t pure melodic death metal; it is a hybrid of the two…And the final product is utterly joyous. Whatever style of metal you’re into, it is almost certain that you’ll like The Haunted.

What strikes me most about ‘Strength In Numbers’, at least initially, is the sense of variety within the ten compositions. It could be argued that albums like this could get a bit repetitive and samey. But this just isn’t. So confident are the protagonists that they are able to mix things up just enough without losing any of the impact or power.

Once again, The Haunted prove that they are simply a cut above most other acts out there. What’s more, it just feels so damn effortless. ‘Strength In Numbers’ could well be considered the band’s best ever album and right now I’d find it difficult to argue against that.”

Read the full review here.

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I’ve always had a soft spot for The Haunted without ever being an out-and-out fanboy. Mind you, it is hard to be a fan of heavy, extreme metal and not enjoy a slab of The Haunted. Facing adversity in the shape of a constantly shifting line-up, the Swedish metal juggernaut have come out the other side and delivered a fantastic record with ‘Strength In Numbers’.

At the time, I had to review the album very quickly in order to publish it ahead of its release. I therefore felt a tad rushed and not as prepared as I’d normally like to be. However, in the short time that I had to digest the material on ‘Strength In Numbers’, it made a huge impact on me. Nevertheless, I still worried that my closing remarks within my review (as above) may have been a little sensationalist or hyperbolic.

Suggesting that this is the best release within an already impressively consistent discography was a bold statement. Some might say it was foolhardy. With the benefit of hindsight and with more time to get to know the record, I can now say that I was bang on in my original conclusion. I have gone back and squeezed in enough time to listen to the back catalogue and indeed ‘Strength In Numbers’ has to be my favourite.

It is difficult to pinpoint a single tangible reason why but there’s definitely a magic about it that draws me in. The combination of a bang up-to-date production, succinct and powerful songwriting and some killer tunes that are hard-hitting and intense, yet memorable is impossible to ignore. Plus I’m a sucker for the riffs that are plastered all over this beast. Put all this together and the results are mighty fine indeed.

The fact that I still think all this about ‘Strength In Numbers’ several months after its release means that I have no doubt at all in finding a well-deserved place in my top 30 for The Haunted.

If you missed either of my 2017 ‘honourable mentions’ posts, here they are should you be interested:

Album of the Year 2017 – honourable mentions Part 1
Album of the Year 2017 – honourable mentions Part 2

Previous posts in my 2017 Top 30 countdown:

Album of the Year 2017 – Number 22
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 23
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 24
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 25
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 26
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 27
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 28
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 29
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 30

And from previous years:

Album of the Year 2016
Album of the Year 2015
Album of the Year 2014
Album of the Year 2013
Album of the Year 2012

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