Haunt – Burst into Flame (Shadow Kingdom Records)Wednesday, 15th August 2018
Originating as a solo project from Beastmaker guitarist/vocalist Trevor William Church to exercise his heavy metal leanings, Haunt issued an EP last year Luminous Eyes independently, making waves enough for Shadow Kingdom to pick up this outfit as well for a proper release. Feeling the need to recruit a full-lineup as a quartet, Burst into Flame contains trademark qualities that harken back to the sweet spot of 1981-1985 in this genre – simple yet effective guitar melodies, sinister swinging riffs and proper tempo/vocal maintenance to hammer all the ideas home.
The usual suspects of influences become clear after a few simple passes of songs like “Crystal Ball” and “Frozen in Time” – Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden, and early Ozzy Osbourne come up, but then there is a darker thread and tougher exterior to some of the production values and tones that conjures up Angel Witch as well. Right out of the gate the guitar action from Church and fellow axe slinger John William Tucker reaches air simulation mode from the opening two riffs of the title track – Trevor supplementing the quick licks with a semi-moaning vocal melody that gives contrast to the speedy, steamroller musical activity on display. From the logo to mystical cover art, right down to the primitive production that lets the guitars roar and rhythm section sound natural and not over-processed, Haunt keep the arrangements equally very basic in tight three-four minute and change windows. The Gorham/Robertson duo during the 1975-1977 peak of Thin Lizzy would be so proud of the “Emerald”-ish axe passages that penetrate personal favorite “My Mirage”, the type of cultural fuel that fosters warm feelings all around.
Burst into Flame possesses the right underground character that would have made it a tape trading list favorite – as Haunt could be one of those hidden gems that stalk your town and stun the audience given the right tour or ideal club to play.