Haunt – If Icarus Could Fly (Shadow Kingdom Records)Friday, 17th May 2019
Principle songwriter and visionary Trevor William Church wastes no time churning out product for Haunt. If Icarus Could Fly is the group’s second full-length since 2018 – surrounded by a couple of EP’s in the mix. And it’s been reported that he’s already finished the material that will comprise the third album. Driven and focused, his determination to deliver as many songs as possible can be commended in an era where it seems most musicians labor over their efforts for years. Growing as well from an initial solo project to a full outfit (guitarist John Tucker, bassist Taylor Hollman and drummer Daniel Wilson surrounding Trevor as vocalist/second guitarist) allows Haunt to be more of a viable touring entity to propel the music to the masses – and these eight anthems encapsulate the diverse NWOBHM meets hard rock influences these musicians profess affinity and admiration for.
Harmonies abound – be it the background vocal charm within “Cosmic Kiss” as the dual Maiden-esque guitar licks weave in and out, or the Ozzy-like driving rhythms against the AOR-ish chorus for “Winds of Destiny”, it’s hard not to compel people to scream and shout along to this action. At other times, the melodic clean guitar parts come from an early W.A.S.P. position, the intro riff for opener “Run and Hide” a throwback to The Last Command, even as the divebomb tapping and galloping double kick-led tempo keeps the racing energy on high. Trevor and John execute double leads and rhythms seamlessly, always knowing when to change up the sequence for an upper melody to engage listeners in further aural ecstasy – check out “Ghosts” for some sick Thin Lizzy-ish cultural resonance that comes right out of that ‘75-‘79 treasured time. The half-hour run time may seem short to some – but for today’s short attention spans will probably cause most listeners to just hit repeat or flip the vinyl/tape physical mediums that much quicker to air again and again. Trevor’s voice has that mid-range to slightly upper register psychedelic affect – uplifting with a side of moaning just to keep things metal.
Haunt aren’t really doing anything new in their old school influences and approach. They just keep the melodies and harmonies flowing in three to four-minute segments, acting as if the changes in metal or hard rock past 1987 never existed. We know plenty who champion those times – and thus welcome the band with open arms.