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Haunter – Discarnate Ails Award winner

Discarnate Ails
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 06 June 2022, 7:35 AM

HAUNTER's previous release, "Sacramental Death Qualia," was an album I reviewed—and loved.  This Texas based band changed from the screamo that appeared on their first demo to more progressively structured waters and have never looked back.  Four splits, another demo, and three full lengths later and we arrive to their new album. This latest release, "Discarnate Ails," is every bit as good in terms of song writing but it is definitely too short. It is being billed as a full length but with three songs and thirty-two minutes run time, it feels more like an EP. I know it is quality over quantity but it certainly feels like there are things left unfinished—it definitely needs a couple more tracks. But what is here is extremely impressive. Their overall sound has technical and progressive elements to it but without coming off as pretentious or showy. What helps keep the honest, and "Discarnate Ails," on such firm ground, is that instead of diving in full body to  either of the aforementioned styles, they always keep on foot firmly planted into extreme metal.

In the case of HAUNTER, that is a combination of black and death metal. Their style, song structure, and focus can change on a dime but they will rip you to shreds while doing so. Overall, they still have a lot of dissonance to their sound—which I enjoy because they use it to effectively keep you off balance.  When it comes to HAUNTER, they definitely have their sound but, at the same time, the listener will never really know where that sound make take them. “Discarnate Ails,” shares those values all the same but I can’t help but feel this one leans slightly more towards black metal than their more brutal side.  I have absolutely no problem with that, and actually think this works much better for their sound.

The three tracks presented here sound different from each other, to a degree anyway, but the overall sound is interconnected that it still sounds like a true album of cohesive collection. The first song, "Overgrown With The Moss," begins with quite tones but with a shroud of mystery shrouded over them. At the 1:17 mark, the song explodes, combining relentless death metal intensity with blackened riffs. Over the curse of the next few minutes, birthed out of a quick, clean ambient passage, we are treated to a hurricane of music that brings in blistering solos and a ton of groove. It might seem spastic or unruly on the first listen but in time  it all absorbs into one huge wall of sound but this wall is malleable and ebbs and flows naturally.

"Spiritual Illness," is the shortest of the three songs but still just seconds shy of seven minutes. It wastes no time, the guitars jumping in immediately and creating an unique passage before turning into fast and thunderous extremity. This track is definitely the most intense and straightforward on the album but it still includes all the elements that make the band so goddamn good. "Chained at the Helm of the Eschaton" is a MASSIVE track, the musical equivalent of discovering another world. The riffs are fast and furious in the waters directed by the bass and drums. It isn't all chaos as the riffs slow down to doom elements but afterwards the band's black metal side casts dark light and the band rages like an all consuming fire.

It is a testament to the band's song writing abilities that I want to hear more, more, more! Regardless, "Discarnate Ails," is yet another sterling addition to their mighty, and thus far nearly flawless, musical tapestry.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Overgrown With The Moss
2. Spiritual Illness
3. Chained At The Helm Of The Eschaton
Mark Cruz – Drums
Enrique Bonilla – Guitars
Bradley Tiffin – Vocals, Guitars
Cole Tucker - Bass
Record Label: Profound Lore Records


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