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Haunter - Sacramental Death Qualia Award winner

Sacramental Death Qualia
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 16 September 2019, 4:11 AM

HAUNTER is a Blackened Death Metal band from Texas.  “Sacramental Death Qualia,” is their second full length.  In addition, they also have four splits and one demo. So many bands within this sub-genre prize outright brutality above all—there is nothing wrong with that, but it is refreshing to hear that HAUNTER have risen above their peers to establish an exceptionally powerful and raw album that favors atmosphere and mood over pummeling things to death.  In essence, the band lives up to their name as the five tracks presented with the roughly 47-minute time frame are indeed haunting but also forward thinking.  That isn’t to say this album isn’t balls out heavy and it doesn’t pummel but they just go about it a different way.

Dispossessed Phrenic Antiquity,” begins with a deep, hellish growl over chugging guitars and excitable drums—the bass hits hard as well and more than makes a strong case for Metal bands within the extremes to have a bass player worth his/her salt.  Around the 3:45 mark, the bands lets in a bit of stale light creep into their fury, akin to a darkened tomb that finally receives a slither of light. These “quieter” moments are when the band sounds becomes more monolithic, a very stark statement among more brutal outbursts.

Spoils Vultured Upon Sole Deletion,” is a hell of a mouth full to say but the song more than speaks for itself.  At just over ten minutes in length, this track has plenty to say.  The guitar harmonies in the beginning trade off with the Blackened screams, while the bass takes a bit of a walk down a side street.  The whole movement just works so well, the band obviously well versed in their sound—they know what they want to do and they go for the throat to accomplish it.  The drums are more Black Metal oriented on this track and it allowed the song to stay increasingly raw even as the band changed up the sound.  The last couple minutes or so is a melodic outro that is surprisingly moving without feeling out of place.

The third track, “Abdication,” takes the ending of the previous song and runs with it.  This is a melodic, cleanly approached track flows smoothly.  It is a nice respite in the album’s middle, especially so because the next two tracks are monsters.  If someone walked in on me listening to this track, they would probably never guess the type of band it belonged to—this is a testament to HAUNTER’s versatility and strengths.

Subversion of a Heathen Tongue,” is one of the heaviest tracks and, call me a crazy, I also hear a bit of Prog within the structure in the latter half of the song. The halfway point in the song is my favorite part, I loved how the lead guitar led the band into this brutal passage that doesn’t let up for several moments.  Even more so than the previous tracks, this one, despite how intense it can be, really showcases the band’s talent and mastery over their respective instruments.

Last, but most certainly not least, we have the title track “Sacramental Death Qualia,” a lengthy 12-minute long track that just includes everything heard across the previous four tracks but in bigger ways.  The song spends over four minutes building up—but even those four minutes contain vastly different approaches to creating tension and climax. Much of the remaining minutes are the band trying to kill you with all it has to offer—rapid fire drums, dark death inducing riffs, and harrowing vocals.  Honestly, the last few minutes remind me of a much darker and violent version of older OPETH, minus the clean vocals.

HAUNTER’s music is a miasma of hectic and moody music that is heads and shoulders above a lot of other Extreme Metal bands I’ve heard this year.  If you want some Black/Death Metal with a lot of depth, stunning musicianship, epic songs, and even a little adventure, then HAUNTER’s “Sacramental Death Qualia,” needs to find a way to your wish list ASAP.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Dispossessed Phrenic Antiquity
2. Spoils Vultured Upon Sole Deletion
3. Abdication
4. Subversion Of A Heathen Tongue
5. Sacramental Death Qualia
Mark Cruz – Drums
Enrique Bonilla – Guitars
Bradley Tiffin – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards
Record Label: I,Voidhanger


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