01. Shadowminds 02. Days Of The Lost 03. The Needless End 04. Conditional 05. In Broken Trust 06. Gateways 07. A Truth Worth Lying For 08. Feel What I Believe 09. Last Of Our Kind 10. The Most Alone
As much as most of us like to see metal progress and evolve, there remains a lot to be said for getting straight to the point. THE HALO EFFECT comprises five former members of IN FLAMES, and "Days Of The Lost" is a big, brash and bombastic melodic death metal album, noticeably akin to the kind of record the aforementioned legends were making back in the late '90s and early '00s. But what is most pleasing about the quintet's debut is that it sounds utterly contemporary and in no way nostalgic for some sepia-tinted Gothenburg past. It was the timelessness of the melo-death scene's greatest songs that made it such a potent, influential force, and THE HALO EFFECT have aimed squarely at that same, noble goal.
Sonically, "Days Of The Lost" dwells firmly at the cutting edge of things, and eschews idle mimicking of the good old days in favor of a razor-sharp and futuristic rush of immaculate sound. Coupled with songs that deliver the goods in all departments — the insistent, post-Maiden harmony hooks, the pulverizing riffs, the gloomily anthemic choruses — and a cynic could be forgiven for thinking that these musicians are making a point about what an up-to-date melodic death metal could or perhaps should sound like. That this coincides with the impending release of what promises to be the best (and heaviest) IN FLAMES album in a long time is probably less significant than it seems. But as a restating of original values, albeit in a defiantly modern setting, "Days Of The Lost" hurls down the gauntlet with a cocky flourish.
Every one of these songs boasts at least one giant melodic hook, and there are numerous moments that are grin-inducing in their on-the-nose reframing of much revered tropes. Recent singles "Shadowminds" and "The Needless End" are firmly indicative of THE HALO EFFECT's approach. Led by vocalist Mikael Stanne (DARK TRANQUILLITY / GRAND CADAVER) and his unmistakably feral growl, but subtly dominated by the harmonies emanating from guitarists Jesper Strömblad and Niclas Engelin, they tick every conceivable box for fans of this hyper-specific metal strain, while also sounding oddly distinctive and fresh. The more ambitious likes of "In Broken Trust" and "Last Of Our Kind" dare to lean harder on the band's melodic side, but with more than enough piss and vinegar backing up the bittersweet refrains.
Throughout it all, THE HALO EFFECT sound collectively buzzed to be back in such familiar territory, armed with skills and sensibilities honed over three decades of active metal service. And while devotees of this stuff may take some persuading that "Days Of The Lost" is the equal of all those classic IN FLAMES and DARK TRANQUILLITY records, the sheer, unadulterated quality of this whole enterprise is as plain as day.