It all came to a start in the end of July 1996. Jensen (ex.Seance) had been looking for members to complete his new project for quite sometime, but at that time everybody that he wanted to play with was busy with other bands. On the 27th of July, Anders and Jonas decided to leave At the gates. The rest of ATG quickly realized that it would be impossible to continue without the main songwriters in the band. Adrian, who was the drummer in ATG, as well as a good friend of Jensen's, knew that he was looking for new members for his band. When Jensen got the news about the ATG split, plans were immediately made to start a new band with Adrian. The first rehearsal took place on the 28th of July in ATG´s old rehearsalplace, where Jensen and Adrian jammed out some of Jensen´s material (originally written for his previous band Seance), as well as some old ATG stuff. This rehearsal was the first step in the life of the new band, which at that time only consisted of two members. A few rehearsals took place with this 2 man lineup. It was during these rehearsals the first few songs were put together (Undead etc.).
However, new blood was acquired to keep this new band moving forward. John Zwetsloot (ex Dissection & Cardinal Sin) was approached. The band rehearsed a few times with John, where the newly composed songs were tried out, as well as a few covers (none worth mentioning though). Now the band needed a bassplayer to get the pressure level up. Jonas (ex ATG bassplayer) had previously been approached by Jensen regarding playing bass in his new project. He was still interested, and when he came to the rehearsals and tried out it was very obvious that he was the man for the job. The band continued writing songs with its new members. A few weeks passed by with this lineup when Anders(ex ATG) started turning up just to listen at rehearsals. The band wasn’t happy with the work presented by John, mainly because his playingstyle differed too much from the musical direction provided by the rest of the band. At home, in secret, Anders and Jonas had been practicing the material. So when John was let go, Anders smoothly took his place. Anders and Adrian had been planning to start a new thing together with Jonas initially, so when the possibility to get two things into one rose, it seemed like the best thing to do was to include Anders in the band (which at this moment was called The Haunted). The songwriting tempo really picked up with the new members (due to greater insight of musical direction) and finally, one could detect a unique style taking form. The songs got more intense, melodic and brutal. However the band still lacked a singer.
A few people were approached, Rogga (Merciless), Oscar (In a pigs eye), Tony (Satanic slaughter, now Witchery) and finally Peter Dolving (Mary beats Jane). Nothing really happened though. A few tapes were passed around, but no auditions came to stand (mainly because no PA system was available at the rehearsal place). Another thing that surfaced, was that the band couldn’t decide whether if "The Haunted" was the right name for the band or not, Among the other suggestions were "Death & ½ Inc", "The Promised Land", "The Lost Dimension", etc... Nothing was really settled for quite some time. At that time, the band felt that the songwriting was the more important task. Therefore, the name issue was moved aside temporary. During the beginning of 1997, Adrian started to play with another band on the side of The Haunted, called Hyperhug. Meanwhile, The Haunted's rehearsals was turning into a uncomfortable situation for Adrian. He felt that there were no ambitions in the band, due to the lack of a singer and a proper bandname. He therefore decided to leave the band to play full-time with Hyperhug. All of a sudden, the band was left without a drummer!
Nothing really happened at first, but after a while plans regarding a new drummer evolved. The ones approached included Anders Jivarp (Dark Tranquility), Hans Nilsson (Liers in Wait, Diabolique), Snowy Shaw (ex. King Diamond) and Ole Öhman (ex. Dissection and Opthalamia). It was, however, only the latter who got the chance to try out at actual rehearsals. The band rehearsed a few times with Ole, but things weren't really the same without Adrian. In spring -97, Hyperhug rehearsed intensely and played one gig. During that show, the singer got his hearing severely damaged. As a result of his injuries, Hyperhug was split-up. Adrian had at that time been thinking a lot about going back to playing more aggressive music again. The Haunted was experiencing difficulties at "getting back on track" with the present drummer, so when Adrian wanted to get back into the saddle, the other guys took it under consideration. After a few days, he was offered his place back, and so the band was on the move again.
Immediately after his return the band started to take things more seriously, dedicating more time to the band and the songwriting. It was now the name The Haunted was made the official name of the band. Earache records, the label that had released ATG´s latest (and last) record, started to gain interest in them. They wanted to hear some of the new material. And when they offered the band a place on the Earplugged 2 CD compilation, the band accepted, but still didn’t have any singer. This was a major problem, because the recording was only 1 ½ weeks away. Adrian suggested that they should try out Peter Dolving of Mary beats Jane. Since time was running out no real audition took place. In fact, the only rehearsal with Dolving was when he was taught the two songs for the demorecording. The songs "Undead" and "Shattered" were recorded in two days at studio Fredman, Gothenburg. With the completion of these sessions, it was decided that Dolving would be the right man for the vocal delivery.
Dolving had joined the band as a session vocalist for The Haunted, but he grew more and more into the band. A couple of months after the demorecording of "undead" and "shattered", The Haunted had material to complete their debut album. Peter Dolving had grown to a full-time member of the band, fueling the album with arrangement-ideas and lyrics. The Haunted S/T was recorded in the Fredman Studio (Gothenburg, Sweden), where for example At the gates had recorded :" Terminal spirit disease" and "Slaughter of the soul". The Haunted's debut album acheived great praise, and was voted "album of the year" / "newcomer of the year" in a number of different major European Metal magazines. A UK mini-tour with Napalm Death went underway late fall of '98, which earned great success for the band. But after coming home from that tour, the foundation of the band really started to crack. Peter left the band, fed up with the problems he thought Earache had dealing with reality, to concentrate more on a career with a band called "Zen-Monkey" (Today split-up).
This departure left the remaining members with a frustrating problem on their hands. They had to look for a new singer. A replacement for Peter Dolving !. After a difficult and dark spring of '99, and after numerous vocal try-outs, The Haunted contacted Marco Aro, previously a singer in the Stockholm outfit "Face Down". Marco was surprised to hear from us, since he had heard The Haunted, and liked it alot. He thought the task to be a big challenge and he had also almost dropped his career as a singer at the time, but he was also honoured to be given the trial-oppurtunity. After just a short rehearsal, the remaining members of The Haunted felt a load being lifted from their chest. THE QUEST WAS OVER.... There was no question that the new singer had to be Marco Aro.
Late spring of '99 - The Haunted executed some important festival shows like : The Swedish Hultsfred festival, and the Dynamo Open Air festival among others. These festival dates proved Marco was a perfect replacement for Peter, and the experience gave Marco the confidence to live out all his onstage aggression in every live performance to come.
The Haunted was yet to be struck with another huge problem. During the summer of '99, The Haunted got the word that Testament had been interested in taking on The Haunted as an opening act on their upcoming US tour. This was a dream come true for the old school-thrash-fans The Haunted. However, in the midst of rehearsing and planning for the tour, Adrian left the band to join the UK gothic/BM act Cradle of filth. Also he was tired of the band not being able to develop and move on due to Earache records. Fearing the risk of losing enthusiasm and motivation as a musician completely, Adrian decided to take his skills elsewhere. This was indeed a giant set back for the band.
But, The Haunted had overcome worse trouble than this. Jensen got on the phone with a Danish friend, trying to track down a danish drummer called : Per Moller Jensen.- (The drummer of the Danish thrashers Invocator.) Jensen got ahold of Per, only to find out that he had joined the band Konkhra. But Per, after receiving and listening to the first The Haunted album, was very interested to do the Testament tour, so he travelled to Gothenburg in the middle of July to start rehearsing with The Haunted. Rehearsals went truly great. Per turned out to be the anonymous drum-god. A fast learner with almost inhuman skills and precision.
The Testament tour lasted thru-out August '99, giving The Haunted the high acclaim they deserve.
Back from touring, The Haunted immediately started working on their second studio album. An album that has even more pounding aggression and melancholic mayhem to it than the first one had. Marco will prove to be more than qualified to take over after Peter, and Per will have no chance of staying anonymous anymore… Expect some really terrifying aggression and heaviness from The Haunted this fall.
THE HAUNTED - June 2000
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