The Halo Effect – Days of the Lost (Nuclear Blast)Wednesday, 17th August 2022
The lineup of Swedish act The Halo Effect has integral ties to the origins of the melodeath moniker known as The Gothenburg Sound. All of the members have history with In Flames throughout various stages of that band’s long career – while vocalist Mikael Stanne continued forward fronting Dark Tranquillity. Knowing each other in those early years back in the late 80’s, the idea came about to revisit the past using the seasoning and experience gained decades later as friends and musicians – which is what you’ll hear on this debut album Days of the Lost.
The record bristles with that enthusiastic charm of the early to mid-1990’s, locking onto specific catchy riff combinations, potent groove/fill combinations, while Mikael’s vicious screams and growls give the tracks that additional propulsion to scratch, claw, and cement themselves into your heart. The rhythms, twin harmony spots, plus lead breaks between Jesper Strömblad and Niclas Engelin engage the melodeath maven craving for simplicity – “The Needless End” plus “A Truth Worth Lying For” channeling that spirit of The Jester Race or Whoracle. Bassist Peter Iwers drives the early sequences for “Gateways”, the main chorus payoff along with the subtle guitar twists addictive in a mid-tempo anthem template. The ten tracks roll by in relatively quick fashion at just over forty minutes – standouts including the up-tempo riff parade with slamming drum grooves courtesy of Daniel Svensson for “Feel What I Believe” plus the quintessential textbook hooks and melodies that comprise the title track – double kick emphasis and progressive transitions enhancing the dynamic appeal. Special guest Matt Heafy of Trivium appears on “Last of Our Kind”, adding his impassioned voice to this punishing composition that starts off serene before blasting into heads down riffs supplemented by the right half-time groove moments.
Those expecting revolutionary music may be sorely disappointed – these musicians preferring to tap into those early influences and see what develops organically. Some will be satisfied with the throwback nature of Days of the Lost – others may have a wait and see attitude to keep an eye on The Halo Effect for future recordings. Position this scribe as moderately happy, curious to watch where things may progress.