Arising from the ashes of the important mid-'90s Swedish death metal band At the Gates and featuring former members of Witchery and Face Down, the Haunted went through countless lineup changes during the late '90s before finally releasing The Haunted Made Me Do It in 2000, confirming the excitement surrounding the band. Back in 1996, guitarist Anders Björler and bassist Jonas Björler left At the Gates, eventually ending up as early members of the Haunted, along with ex-Seance guitarist Jensen and ex-At the Gates drummer Adrian Erlandsson. Though it took them nearly a year's time to find an adequate vocalist, they eventually settled on Peter Dolving from Mary Beats Jane after Earache approached the group about contributing music to the Earplugged 2 compilation. Soon the band went into the studio with this lineup and recorded its self-titled debut, which won plenty of praise from the metal community.
Unfortunately, Erlandsson and Dolving ended up leaving the band (the former joined Cradle of Filth), but the remaining members quickly found a new drummer and vocalist, Per Moller Jensen and Marco Aro, respectively. With the band rebuilt, they entered the studio once again, recording their sophomore album, The Haunted Made Me Do It, which received a heavy -- and definitely warranted -- push from Earache, again catapulting the group into the eyes of the metal community. A leap forward from their debut, The Haunted Made Me Do It presented a unique approach to death metal that took the melodic tendencies of the late At the Gates material to a new level, resulting in an innovative blend of beauty and aggression that rarely surfaces in death metal and even less frequently appears this realized. Björler briefly left the band, but returned for 2004's One Kill Wonder, which marked the band's last recording for Earache.
In 2005 the band reunited with Dolving and signed with Century Media. Their first full-length for the imprint, 2005's rEVOLVEr, showcasing yet another progressive evolution in the band's sound, was greeted with nearly universal critical praise as better than any previous offering. In 2006 the band issued Dead Eye and later toured the U.S. with Dark Tranquillity, Into Eternity, and Scar Symmetry for the North American Metal for the Masses tour. After an extended break, the band returned to the studio for Versus, which was released in the fall of 2008. A greatest-hits package entitled Warning Shots was issued in 2009, followed in 2010 by the stellar live CD Road Kill from their 2009 tour with Slayer. The set included a DVD that showcased the sheer magnitude and force of the Haunted's live show. During the break, the band began to write new material, which resulted in the wildly progressive album Unseen, issued in March of 2011, followed by a European tour and 2014's Exit Wounds, which saw the entrance of new guitarist Ola Englund and the return of Marco Aro and Adrian Erlandsson after more than a decade away from the band. The critical and public reception of the resultant tour was jubilant. For 2017's Strength in Numbers, the band changed gears and chose Russ Russell (Napalm Death, Dimmu Borgir) over longtime compatriot Tue Madsen. Also for the first time, they brought finished charts and pre-recorded material into the studio. The set was issued in August. ~ Jason Birchmeier