REVIEW: The Halo Effect – Days of the Lost

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Do you wish that IN FLAMES still sounded like IN FLAMES? Well, so do all of the rest of us. Okay, all teasing aside, it’s really awesome that so many of IN FLAMES‘ old members have regrouped and reformed into a new side project, known as THE HALO EFFECT. Their debut single, “Shadowminds,” was released last year to fairly wide acclaim, with a few more singles since further impressing us. “Days of the Lost” is set for release on August 12th, 2022, via Nuclear Blast Records.

Check out our interview with Mikael Stanne here.

When this band released “Shadowminds” as their debut single, every fiber of my being lit up. Part of this is because I am a huge fan of Jesper Strömblad and while I like CYHRA well enough, it’s not really the same thing as having him in a Gothenburg band. The addition of former CYHRA and IN FLAMES bassist Peter Iwers to THE HALO EFFECT‘s lineup didn’t hurt either, as bringing these two back together always results in good material. There’s something in the melody to that song that makes me just want to mosh and party around… well, wherever I am when the song comes on, be it a show or the kitchen or sitting on the toilet. The fantastic groove, the soft-yet-powerful growls, the slick riffing… everything about it triggers everything I miss about the types of Gothenburg that really worked for me. I’ve heard that not everyone finds that this song has that “it” factor from old IN FLAMES, DARK TRANQUILLITY, or AT THE GATES, but for me personally, this was everything it needed to be.

Generally speaking, this album really seems to boil down to three options to appeal to people: either you’re just generally into metal and it’s good music, so this melodic death metal is a great album to put on; you’re really looking for something to fill the void left by modern IN FLAMES and this is absolutely it; or you’re looking for something to fill that same void, but you find that you’d like some clean vocals mixed in with the growls. At least, those are the consistent opinions that have been going around pretty much everyone I’ve ever heard talk about the album. It does make some sense. These are all seasoned veterans shooting to do something a little nostalgic, so regardless of what they sound like, they sound great. The modern production mixed with the classic Gothenburg style is really cool too, as you will read in my upcoming anniversary review of IN FLAMES“Reroute to Remain,” the only thing about that album that hadn’t held up to this day was the production quality. “Days of the Lost” has a sound that clearly nods back to that era and even a bit before, while having a well-balanced modern clarity to it.

The album is pretty fast-paced, with no song clocking as long as 5 minutes. The riffing is consistently good, which is probably my general highlight. The rhythms are pure nostalgia and the solos are really well done. “Days of the Lost” has a slightly more relaxed-yet-upbeat tempo and the powerful but mellow vocals are clear yet with a magnificent growl. “The Needless End” drives forward with a bit more power, while the really old-school Strömblad slow-style rhythm riffs are a prominent part of “Conditional,” at least until the energy blasts up several notches. There’s a bit more of a hint of modern sound in “In Broken Trust,” but its paired with some of the most brutal growls to be found on the album; this song also has one of the rare clean vocal parts – another highlight!

Guitars take the lead, followed by soft drums in “Gateways,” and then Stanne comes in, sounding unusually evil and ominous. “A Truth Worth Lying For” – great name, by the way – is another of the tracks to feature clean vocals, making it an interesting change-up from its neighbors, and there’s just something soothing about the song, as if it wants to remind you of something worth remembering (man, I really wish I had the lyrics). “Feel What I Believe” should already be familiar as a fast-paced single, with a strong chorus and a lot of great guitarwork. “Last of Our Kind,” interestingly, starts out sounding like an APOCALYPTICA song (that is to say, there’s a cello intro), before it turns metal and gets harsh, really driving forward with no mercy. Perhaps the most interesting part of that track is the blending of vocals at the end. Then album then wraps up with “The Most Alone,” which is a pretty conclusive-feeling track that acts as a mellow, melodic closer, leaving you with a good vibe that’s far less melancholic than the name would suggest, as the album ends feeling positive and hopeful. There’s even a hint of classic IRON MAIDEN riffing sound in the way the guitars go in the solo, and it fades out with some really nice guitar lines as well. A strong final track!

Frankly, you should just give “Days of the Lost” a shot. One way or the other, you probably want to know how it sounds, right? Well, if the singles have tickled your fancy, the rest of the album doesn’t stray all too far from them, so if you like what you’ve heard, hell yeah! But even if you weren’t that impressed by the singles… still try it out? These guys are old hats at this game and they’ve been given the chance to explore the sounds of the past with the production of the present… and that alone is at least worth hearing once, don’t you think? I can also imagine that it only gets better once you have your hands on the lyrics…

Tracklist

  1. Shadowminds
  2. Days of the Lost
  3. The Needless End
  4. Conditional
  5. In Broken Trust
  6. Gateways
  7. A Truth Worth Lying For
  8. Feel What I Believe
  9. Last of Our Kind
  10. The Most Alone

Lineup

Mikael Stanne – vocals
Niclas Engelin – lead guitar
Jesper Strömblad – rhythm guitar
Peter Iwers – bass
Daniel Svensson – drums

Label

Nuclear Blast Records

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