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Haunt – Flashback

by Ian Yeara at 13 December 2020, 11:47 AM

I figure it’s smart to begin with a disclaimer: Traditional Heavy Metal is not my cup of tea, never really has been. There’s stuff along the way that falls into that category that I have enjoyed, a few that come to mind right away are DUNGEON, REALM and THUNDERSTEEL. What do those three have in common? Speedy riffs, Power Metal type hooks and big production with the guitars front and center. I’m sorry, but this album sounds like a watered down version of albums like "Resurrection", "Thundersteel" and "Endless War".

The riffs aren’t particularly beefy and the hooks are actually quite disappointing. Unfortunately, I think this album is let down by its production, I still don’t really like songs like "Electrified" and "Flashback" personally, the riffs sound like they were made from concentrate and the vocal melodies are flat and boring; but I would be able to enjoy the song a lot more if the mix didn’t feel so flat. Especially on "Flashback" there’s very little dynamic difference between sections and when everything feels like the same dynamic range and the whole song is mid-tempo, it’s just not a good combination. I could have enjoyed the "single" type songs off this album because they are quite catchy, but the production really takes me out of the music and makes it hard for me to get invested.

Now let’s get to the good stuff because I hate being primarily negative about an album. There’s about three songs that I really enjoyed on this album, "Winter’s Breath" actually feels like a Heavy Metal track and makes for a good breath of fresh air between "Flashback" and "Electrified" which are both tepid, riff-less, mid-tempo Hard Rock slogs and I genuinely felt like they took away from this album.

"One With The Universe" is actually a lot of fun, the riffs sound so much more energetic and while I thought the vocals hurt the “catchy singles”, as they aren’t exactly melodic in nature, they seem to fit with this kind of song a lot better. I may not like more traditional Heavy and Speed Metal, but I would rather listen to songs like "One With The Universe" and "Spend A Fortune" all day instead of tracks like "Electrified". "Spend A Fortune" has great energy and the riffs are enjoyable enough even if they’re not particularly original; oh and for this kind of metal I actually really enjoyed the hook.

I don’t really have a lot to say about this album so I’ve been saving this part; I really enjoyed "Figure In A Painting", if I’m being honest with myself it’s probably because it’s a little more instrumentally interesting than the rest of the album. I’m a big Progressive Rock/Metal fan, so I always like it when bands bring something a little different into their sound. On this song, Trevor Church has some riffs that sound a little less tonally focused and the resulting clash of sounds actually brings some fresh life to this album. I like the keyboard sound quite a bit and the bridge is quite fun. To top it off, this is going to be the chorus I remember most from this album, it’s more melodically inclined than most of the album, but it’s also structured more like a Power Metal chorus which is always going to be my preference. If I have any complaint it’s that the song is too short, I was finally starting to really enjoy myself and it just ends, pretty abruptly I might add.

I’m sorry, but the last two songs simply don’t add anything more to get into. I found this album to be mostly boring, although considering the album is only 30 minutes it wasn’t too bad. Everything has this labeled as a full-length album, but really it’s an EP, especially since apparently this is the second album HAUNT has released this year.

As much as I dislike Traditional Metal like this, there were enough elements of music I actually enjoy to have me curious if maybe he’s written other stuff I might like more. I’ll have to check out the other album he released this year, but for heavy metal fans there’s plenty to enjoy on this. I genuinely think Flashback and Electrified are bad songs and I would advise others to stay away from them, but if this style of music is more in your wheelhouse than in mine, then I would encourage you to check it out.

Songwriting: 5
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Flashback
2. Winter’s Breath
3. Electrified
4. One With The Universe
5. Spend A Fortune
6. Figure In A Painting
7. The Great Beyond
8. Sweet Embrace
Trevor William Church – all instruments
Record Label: High Roller Records


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Edited 02 February 2023

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