The Haunted - Caught on Tape DVD
Earache Records
16 songs (120")
Release year: 2002
The Haunted, Earache Records
Reviewed by Jay

There have been widespread rumors of Marco Aro of The Haunted supposedly being very unhappy with the way Earache Records has been treating the band. The rumors have gotten big and an interview slamming Earache has surfaced. The Haunted has refuted this interview through an official statement by the label. One of the sticking points was this DVD which is quite lackluster to say the least. I am a fan of The Haunted and I feel putting out a product of such low quality negatively reflects on the band. This is unwarranted because The Haunted are known for their stringent production. One can only get the feeling that this DVD project was taken completely out of their hands because no band that is so meticulous about their music would allow this DVD to surface.

The DVD contains two full-length headlining sets. Both shows have the same set list. The first one was taped in Tokyo. It is the same show where the “Live Rounds in Tokyo” album was recorded and this is a problem. Right after “Dark Intentions” there is a major audio hiccup on the disc and what sounded like high quality soundboard audio is replaced by the “Live Rounds in Tokyo” album note for note. The audio quality drops off significantly from the intro. The sound is not normalized and you will find yourself constantly adjusting the volume. In addition, at certain points the audio falls out of sync with the action on screen. That is if you could see the action on screen to begin with. When played on a TV, the quality of the video is slightly better than MPEG clips you can download from websites. In short, the video quality sucks. It is too dark and everything is pixelated to hell. When played on a computer, the video does not seem as bad but that could be due to the DVD hardware smoothing of video. After the first track, “Bury Your Dead,” we cut to behind the scenes footage. The pattern generally is Song, Behind the Scenes, Song, Behind the Scenes, etc. This would be cool EXCEPT that the behind the scenes stuff is the exact same material featured in the Making of “One Kill Wonder” documentary. If the editor was trying to copy the style of the Hammerfall DVD, he failed miserably. When Anders Björler solos, the camera is anywhere but on him. A solo is the chance for a lead guitarist to shine. By denying him the attention when he does so, it undermines the whole solo and the video in general. In addition, there are no drum cam shots so Per Jensen’s incredible talent cannot be seen either. The only highlight of this show is the extra song that was not on the “Live Rounds in Tokyo” album, a cover of At The Gates’ “Blinded by Fear” on which the band shines.

The second show was taped in Malmö, Sweden in 2001. This show is a sharp contrast to the Japanese show. While the Akasaka Blitz holds around 2,000 people, Malmö’s KB holds about 200. The show is a much more intimate setting and The Haunted seem to be just as intense for 200 people as they were for ten times as many. Improving upon the first train wreck of a concert recording, the video is near perfect for this show. The audio still is not normalized but it is much closer and it does not fall out of sync. Marco Aro’s vocals are much richer on this recording. During “Bury Your Dead” there is a weird segment where for about seven seconds several bars appear across the screen. It is a coding error in the video and it is inexcusable. When trying to make a quality product you do not allow mistakes like this to make the final product. Any first year film student could have had the foresight to remove that or, if the video was damaged on the original tape, use a different shot. The camera passes over Anders to a lesser extent in this section and there are drum kit shots so this concert is a vast improvement. Since The Haunted are playing in their home country, Marco addresses the crowd in Swedish. This is a great gift to the Swedish fans who always get live albums recorded in Japan or elsewhere where the crowd is addressed in English. However, for those of us who do not understand the language, subtitles would have been nice since there seems to be a funny dialogue between Marco and the crowd. DVD technology readily allows for subtitles and it would have greatly enhanced the experience.

The documentary is a high point of the disc and I recommend watching it first and skipping over the inserts in the Japanese concert. It has several segments including a tour of Studio Fredman, an interview with each band member, a look into the songwriting process, an interview with producer Fredrik Nordström and more. It is well done and takes us through the recording of the song “Shithead” from the new album. However, the last segment could have been improved. It is video of Marco leaving the studio and driving off. The song “Everlasting” is playing but the interview with Marco is not. He is talking to the cameraman as he’s walking around but his audio is deleted. This is part of giving the fans an advance listen to the track since this DVD came out shortly before “One Kill Wonder." Personally, I would have liked to hear what Marco was saying for his earlier interview was interesting. Finally there is a menu option that lets you hear the song “Shithead” which is available on “One Kill Wonder.”

If you are a diehard fan of The Haunted, you will probably buy this disc anyway so I cannot dissuade you. This disc is shoddily produced and was probably rushed to get it out before “One Kill Wonder” hit stores. All DVDs should have at least Dolby Digital 5.1 sound if not DTS. The whole point of DVD was to transcend the pitfalls of VHS. That a live music DVD does not have surround sound is completely asinine. With more money and a better editing crew, this could have been a masterpiece. It does seem that Earache took control of this video and cut the band out of the creative process behind it because it is nowhere as rigorously designed as their albums are.

Killing Songs :
The disc has various cuts from the first two The Haunted albums. Choose your favorites.
Jay quoted no quote
Other albums by The Haunted that we have reviewed:
The Haunted - Exit Wounds reviewed by Goat and quoted 73 / 100
The Haunted - Unseen reviewed by Goat and quoted 83 / 100
The Haunted - Versus reviewed by Goat and quoted 76 / 100
The Haunted - The Dead Eye reviewed by Dylan and quoted 41 / 100
The Haunted - rEVOLVEr reviewed by Jay and quoted 67 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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