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The Halo Effect - Days Of The Lost review




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Reviewer:
7.3

358 users:
8.23
Band: The Halo Effect
Album: Days Of The Lost
Release date: August 2022


01. Shadowminds
02. Days Of The Lost
03. The Needless End
04. Conditional
05. In Broken Trust [feat. Jonas Slättung]
06. Gateways
07. A Truth Worth Lying For
08. Feel What I Believe
09. Last Of Our Kind [feat. Matt Heafy, Erika Risinger and Johannes Bergion]
10. The Most Alone
11. The Path Of Fierce Resistance [Japanese bonus]


The ‘halo effect’, roughly speaking, is a phenomenon whereby one’s positive impression of a given trait in a person, group or thing positively influences your overall opinion of said entity. I wonder whether this phenomenon may have some role to play in the initial response to The Halo Effect’s debut.

If you missed the memo, The Halo Effect is a new Gothenburg metal project comprised of 5 ex-In Flames members. Now, given the trajectory of that band over recent years, this statement in and of itself is no particular indicator of quality; however, those 5 ex-members did contribute to some of their more acclaimed records, most notably founding member Jesper Strömblad, who jumped ship in 2010 shortly before In Flames really nosedived in quality. What’s more, The Halo Effect’s vocalist featured as a session musician on In Flames’s debut record Lunar Strain, but Mikael Stanne is probably better known for his tenure in compatriots Dark Tranquillity. Therefore, the pedigree is present in The Halo Effect; the question was therefore how this pedigree would translate into results.

Well, right from the off when playing this album, it’s clear that the members did not do so with the intention of reinventing the wheel or making a grand musical departure. This record is firmly in line with the 2000s Gothenburg template, with the rough edges of the early 90s albums sanded down and given a shiny polish. Across the album, hooky riffs, catchy lead guitar melodies and smooth keyboards are injected with hints of intensity that don’t threaten the music’s accessibility; to go with this, Stanne leads with his trademark rasps, but makes occasional use of his clean singing as well. There’s enough range in speed and aggression to avoid the album blending together, but still it’s not going to offer any surprises to anyone familiar with the scene, as the songs fall pretty much within the Venn diagram overlap between modern Dark Tranquillity and turn-of-the-millennium In Flames.

Still, originality can become irrelevant so long as the songs are enjoyable, which I pointed out more than once last year, so the question is how well do the songs on Days Of The Lost stack up to those on similar albums; given that Act Of Denial is also a Gothenburg supergroup of sorts, they serve as a particularly relevant barometer. Well, on the whole, they stack up fine; this is an album that is perfectly enjoyable for the most part. Among the highlights to me are the bouncy title track, which has a very bright and charismatic chorus, the nifty “Gateways”, and the up-tempo and at-times pounding “Last Of Our Kind”, all of which compare favorably to any other tracks coming out of the genre at the moment, while closing song “The Most Alone” very much captures that dark majestic aura that post-Haven Dark Tranquillity have consistently delivered.

On the flip side, I don’t think this is quite strong enough as an album to merit its current (and presumably fleeting) position at the top of the site’s 2022 rankings, and I wonder how much the hype resulting from the band’s membership is influencing those initial ratings. Compared with a record such as Act Of Denial’s Negative, I think Days Of The Lost can be a tad pedestrian at times; the aforementioned pace of “Last Of Our Kind” is painfully needed after a long stretch of primarily mid-tempo cuts, and this lack of energy does curtail some of the momentum of this album. Additionally, as much as I enjoy Stanne as a clean singer, the two songs in which his singing takes centre stage, “In Broken Trust” and “A Truth Worth Lying For”, are comfortably the duo that I find least interesting when listening to this new record, with the chorus of the former in particular grating with repeat listens.

Ultimately, though, my overriding sentiments towards Days Of The Lost are that it’s a very competent record, but one that’s a bit too safe to feel truly passionate about, except in occasional passages. Certainly, when set against anything that In Flames have done since Reroute To Remain, it comes off looking very nicely, and it stands up well enough in comparison to most of Dark Tranquillity’s post-Fiction material. For most people, that’s enough to call this debut a success, and that's fine; however, if the goal is to become known as more than just ‘the band that those guys who used to be in In Flames formed’, I think there’s still scope for improvement.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 4
Production: 8





Written on 15.08.2022 by Hey chief let's talk why not

Guest review by
lemme
Rating:
8.2
The very first sounds of the debut from Swedes The Halo Effect assured me that this is a project that will not disappoint me for sure. Drawing on the best models in the form of the musicians' main bands (In Flames, Dark Tranquility), an album was recorded that is almost painfully classic in its style.

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published 22.09.2022 | Comments (0)


Comments

Comments: 6   Visited by: 304 users
15.08.2022 - 22:15
Rating: 10
terroriser

I like it. They erased last 15 maybe 20 years of shite in flames albums and released perfect follow up to Colony. What's wrong with that?
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16.08.2022 - 13:55
Rating: 8
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
I actually listened to this just a couple of days ago having no idea that there was any connection to In Flames or Dark Tranquillity. I don't listen to either very regularly, so that might not have meant much anyway, but that knowledge certainly does recontextualize the album in an interesting way. Strangely enough, my prevailing impression was that it sounded like a more energetic version of Omnium Gatherum more than anything Gothenburg. I enjoyed it quite a bit more than you did - in part because I came to this after a streak of disappointing or mediocre melodeath - although I'm curious to see what I think of it now that I know who's behind it. I liked it enough to warrant more sessions in any case.
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"Earth is small and I hate it" - Lum Invader

I'm the Agent of Steel.
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16.08.2022 - 16:22
EloZ

Nobody thinks that The Halo Effect can really reach the heights of early In Flames albums. However, in my opinion, they overtake by far everything accomplished by Anders "Fidel Castro" Friden & Co. in the last In Flames works. This is more In Flames than the band that bears the name! And I agree that Days Of The Lost doesn't shine for originality but it is a perfect sequel for Colony...and that's enough! I'm happy to see Jesper back, because he is the real soul of In Flames...
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16.08.2022 - 23:16
Batlord666

This is an album that I cannot judge fairly. In Flames and Dark Tranquility are two of the most important bands in the world for me, and few things make me happier than In Flames' first five records. This album made me smile ear to ear the whole time, and honestly shed a tear, just because I couldn't believe they were doing something like this and it was so well done. It's a subjective 10/10 at the moment, I'm over the moon that it turned out so well. But I can understand finding it a little unoriginal, the thing is, that's exactly what I wanted!
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16.08.2022 - 23:47
metalwolf

Written by Batlord666 on 16.08.2022 at 23:16

This is an album that I cannot judge fairly. In Flames and Dark Tranquility are two of the most important bands in the world for me, and few things make me happier than In Flames' first five records. This album made me smile ear to ear the whole time, and honestly shed a tear, just because I couldn't believe they were doing something like this and it was so well done. It's a subjective 10/10 at the moment, I'm over the moon that it turned out so well. But I can understand finding it a little unoriginal, the thing is, that's exactly what I wanted!

I like to second that!
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Cthulhu for President! Why settle for the lesser evil?
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24.09.2022 - 09:52
Rating: 7
metalbrat

Really good Gothunberg MDM but any point of time they remind me of DT.
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In the beginning I was made of clay. Then I bit the apple and they changed me to metal 🤘
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