Although “Haunted Made Me Do It” continues the retro-thrash tradition established on the Haunted’s self-titled debut, there are also some notable differences. Vocalist Peter Dolving and his hardcore tendencies have been replaced by Marco Aro’s throatier, death-metal leaning style. This fact, along with occasional use of melody and a couple cases of (gasp!) singing, make “Made Me Do It” more immediately recognizable as the work of a Swedish band than the original. However, if the Haunted’s constant use of guitar harmonies and conservative use of melody smacks of the “Gothenburg scene,” it’s still obvious that their work is rooted in thrash metal first and foremost (anyone expecting to hear any keyboards on a Haunted album will be sorely disappointed). The Haunted are a lean, mean, thrash machine, as reminiscent of Slayer as of In Flames. Anyway, now that my long-winded intro has concluded, on to the album. Fans of the first album, or just about any old-school thrashers, will find a lot to like here. There aren’t a lot of surprises, just metal played with ruthless efficiency and unbridled enthusiasm. After the brief intro of “Dark Intentions,” “Bury Your Dead” and “Trespass” blast ahead at warp speed, propelled by Jensen and Anders Bjorler’s hard-driving guitar harmonies and Per Jensen’s extra-tight drumming. “Leech” slows things down a bit, but in the best possible way; it’s a heavy midtempo tune with lots of pummelling bass. “Hollow Ground” and “Under the Surface” are where the band’s newfound melodic sense is most obvious, as both contain some sung vocals from Marco. Marco won’t make anyone forget about Geoff Tate or Bruce Dickinson, but his singing works well within the context of the album. If there’s one thing that turns me off about “Made Me Do It,” it’s the production. It’s just sort of, I dunno, sterile-sounding. These guys are obviously skilled musicians, but it seems like the vocals are pushed way to the front, and as a result the guitars are a bit muffled, and the rhythm section gets lost in the shuffle some of the time. I personally would have liked a slightly rawer sound, with a little bit more emphasis on those killer guitar harmonies. This is still a good album, but I think it could have been better with a “fuller” sound. Of course, given the rave reviews on this site, it appears I’m in the minority. But whatever the case, this album is still worth hearing.