Updated: Jul 4, 2020
Haunt is a band that hails from Fresno, California who glory in the older days of Metal, returning to a more 80’s sound, with lots of harmonic, dual-guitars and soaring vocals. This is not Iron Maiden, however, the band playing it a little closer to the (denim) vest, especially in the more emotive, less histrionic vocals. The sound of the band definitely takes you back to the days of yore, if you were around then, and if not, it sure gives you a good idea of the (good) old days. Their newest release is Mind Freeze, coming out swinging right as the new year/new decade begins. If this is any indication of the kind of year/decade we have to look forward to in the Metal world, well, we’re going to have a good time.
Their sound has always reminded me mostly of Thin Lizzy mixed with New Wave of British Heavy Metal, but wholly and solely sounding very American and, specifically, Californian. There’s a brightness to their darkness that can only come from guys hailing from a sunny clime. There has been a pretty recent revival of this style of Traditional Metal over the last few years, with many new bands ripping and roaring out of the gates (see: Riot City, Screamer, etc.). Haunt finds themselves firmly a part of this movement, but also slightly apart from it. Their sound is a bit more laid back. Yes, there are stormers on here, songs with flying fingers on frets, but the overall tone is casual, harkening back to that Thin Lizzy thing, rather than barreling forward, all guns blazing like Helloween. It’s heavy though, no doubt, the melodicism and twin-guitar assault always at the forefront. I think a lot of their sound comes from the vocals, which are delivered with genuine earnestness, and even though they might be singing about fantasy/horror elements, it all feels very personal. There is a deep melancholy here from Haunt that gives a unique twist to an age-old formula.
This is their third release in three years and pretty much keeps pace with what they’ve done before. Lots of twin guitars, lots of harmony, lots of speed and frantic shredding. What they’ve done different here, to my ears, is to add a bit more keyboards to the mix. Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t Europe Final Countdown kind of keys, brash and bold and carrying the songs. These are layered, adding a bit of atmosphere to the proceedings, a bed of sound that does not distract from the raging rock that builds from it. I doubt they would be missed in a live show. Think Dio or Aldo Nova and you get an idea of the sound of the keys here.
If you’re looking for a great album, full of guitar fireworks and lots and lots of melodic leads, stop right now and go get this. Haunt is a truly great brand with a truly great sound and they have released the first truly great Metal album of this new year and new decade.
Check out their newest album on Band Camp
Four Buckets of Blood out of Four
Kelly is the author of dozens of stories and dozens of reviews, he likes to write, he likes to read, he likes going to the movies, and he loves to laugh. He hails from the wilds of Kentucky and if you'd like to see more of his work, check out his website: www.kellymhudson.com