The Haunted, Psycho Choke
Block 33, Thessaloniki, Greece
One of the bands that pay a visit to Greece very often is the Swedish force The Haunted. Coming to our country in any given occasion, this was the seventh time for me to see them. I have caught them live in almost every album’s tour, seeing how they evolve through the years and how each time the new songs seem to work out. This time they came for the promotion of their latest daring album called ”Unseen” and it was really tempting to see how they could connect new and old songs together. Until that point, there was a meeting of the fans to see a football match between the two big football clubs of Thessaloniki, Aris and P.A.O.K. , a nice and warming thought by the promoters, trying to bring opponent football fans close, regarding the upcoming show.
Psycho Choke was the band that opened the show and there is little to say for them,as I have stated my opinion numerous times. Maybe the twentieth time I’m seeing them (or somewhere close, I lost count after a point) and they are always a pleasure and much more. Grooving hellish tunes pouring out from the speakers, with the members banging their asses down and the sound being a strong plus to their performance. The rhythm section kicking teeth once again, the guitars building riffing bridges and Alkis on vocals either raging or emotional, showing why since his arrival in the band, everything works perfect for them. Tunes like ”Get Myself Alone” or ”Get Down” are live favourites and despite playing only 35 minutes, the seven songs they presented won the impressions (even people from Athens came to see them). I can see them twenty more times without losing interest. Keep going folks!
The Haunted started a little late but straightly got to the point with ”Never Better” and ”99” following as soon as the first song was over. Peter Dolving is so full of energy that keeps saying incomprehensible stories during the songs. This doesn’t seem to mind the fans and ”The Dead Eye” album is represented with ”The Premonition”, ”The Flood” and ”The Medicaton”. The crowd of about 300 people gets warmed up and the title track of ”Unseen” fills in, sounding much better than in the album, as well as ”The City” that follows. Unfortunately they totally blew ”D.O.A.” which is one of my favourite ones, but ”The Drowning” and especially ”Tresspass” cause some serious headbanging inside Block 33.
Time for some groove with ”No Ghost” proving to be perfect for this, then it’s time for some more headbanging with ”No Compromise”, before things ease a bit with ”The Guilt Trip”, ”Catch 22” and ”The Fallout”. Then it was time for the old fans to really feel they’re not in the wrong concert, as the riff of ”Dark Intentions” prepares the ground for everyone knows: ”Bury Your Dead” enters and a large moshpit is created. This is the end of the main set, before they return for an encore with a song of hope as Dolving presents ”Moronic Colossus” and of course, ”Hate Song” is the last one, showing that in 1998 there was an album that created the whole thrash metal revival existing the last 13 years.
Speaking about performance, the band was more than great and very tied. Especially Per Moller Jensen on drums was hitting like a wacko, all the others in perfect shape with Patrik Jensen showing why Mercyful Fate is one of his favourite bands by wearing a Ghost t-shirt. I want to be objective but I can’t help but saying that I find the approach of the band towards the old material intriguing. I would praise them if they didn’t play ”Hate Song”, I really would. It seems it’s on the set more as a safe card than wanting to play it. I don’t want to sound bad but first of all, this might be the last time we saw them, since once again the attendance was not satisfactory and above all, it seems that the two twins must focus on At The Gates and Patrik Jensen on Witchery. Something seems to go wrong, though they give 101% on stage. I hope I am totally wrong. Time will tell.
Report: Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras.
Photos: Louis Konstantinou.