Delving amongst the underground gems, Haunt have reached a level of response that spreads across the globe, rather than merely in their country of origin. Their recently released short EP ‘Luminous Eyes’ was a good taster, this first full length album subsequently takes that release and refines Haunt into a slick, hook ridden source of cool tunes taking inspiration from all the classic heavy metal sources. The band itself was formed and includes a couple of members of the doom band Beastmaker.
The harmonising and vocals do remind me of Cauldron in some respects, Haunt are a touch different musically, certainly on some of the guitar breaks and leads. The warmth that oozes effortlessly throughout the album reminds me of the tone on occasion of some of the great Thin Lizzy records, I re-iterate in terms of guitar tone. The fast paced title track and opener sets up the standard. The emotive response bleeds energy as the next one ‘Crystal Ball’ comes at you. One of the many money shots ‘Wanderlust’ is quality through and through. The verse itself is invigorating, but the chorus, well, that hook driven music a touched upon earlier, comes out in full force with a touch of classic US metal added to the staccato of the guitar rhythm. Really check, if you haven’t got this release by now, then I would move along. Critically you could say the formula is similar throughout the album, but when you’ve chosen to like this band, that’s the key right? ‘Heroes’, wow, what an opening riff, classic metal indeed then the gallop and chugging of the verse; the immense quality is augmented with the melodic open string hits for the bridge/chorus, oh and that first lead break, this is really enjoyable. No one could ever say this is an inconsistent record, it’s more than a fine wine; it’s a smooth single malt!
The artwork is definitely a step up, this depicts a level if mysticism, a futuristic outlook on the classic tale, this kind of sums up the music contained within. Whilst many aspects would figure as retro, even a little retro occult metal in the sinister Mercyful Fate inspired riffs and galloping NWOBHM of ‘Looking Glass’, the subsequent delivery gleams futurism rather than living in the past.
Haunt are destined for greater admiration as their musical journey continues, this is a fantastic opening album which should gain them a lot more followers and respect from fans and peers alike. ‘Burst Into Flame’ is up there with some of the very greatest albums in terms of albums you go revisit time and time again and remember everything you first heard and more.
(9/10 Paul Maddison)