The Halo Effect might be a new name, but its members certainly shouldn’t be. As former members of In Flames at various points over the last 30 years, Mikael Stanne, Niclas Engelin, Jesper Strömblad, Peter Iwers and Daniel Svensson are veterans of Sweden’s legendary Gothenburg sound, the regional scene that was working on bringing enormodome sensibilities back to the metal underground while Florida was scaring the moral masses with indecipherable grunts and gore-splattered lyrics. Inspiring everyone from Killswitch Engage and Avenged Sevenfold to Trivium and Bullet For My Valentine, the Gothenburg sound set the template for venue-filling melodeath as we know it in 2022: soaring guitar leads, larynx-shredding howls, and choruses that reach down your throat to go straight for the vocal cords.
So, the good news: Days Of The Lost is exactly that. While the Gothenburg scene’s successes have seen peaks and troughs over time, The Halo Effect go right back to the source with an enormity and vitality very much in keeping with the scene’s biggest successes: Slaughter Of The Soul, Clayman or even Soilwork’s Stabbing The Drama. It’s testament to just how enduring Gothenburg’s influence is that Days Of The Lost doesn’t sound dated – if anything, the album is a marvellous display of the same elements that have seen everyone from Arch Enemy to Amon Amarth conquer massive crowds over the past 20 years.
From start to finish, every song on Days Of The Lost is just as colossal and instantly gratifying as the last. The title track, Conditional and Feel What I Believe are each as anthemic as the stellar lead single, Shadowminds. Granted, none of these songs reinvents the wheel, but when you helped write the playbook for one of metal’s most iconic sounds, you hardly need it to. Gothenburg laid the groundwork for death metal to ascend to arenas. Now The Halo Effect will fulfil that promise.