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Eye Recommend It - 86%

l Lunaris l, January 16th, 2020

Just a few short years ago, I wasn’t big into metal. Then a friend introduced me to Judas Priest… and I still didn’t hold a ton of interest in the genre. As time went on, Priest slowly grew on me until it was by far my favorite band, yet this STILL didn’t push me into the metal scene enough. I was afraid to branch out; but relatively recently, with trad metal bands like Mirror, Amulet, and the subject of this review, Haunt, I’ve started to further immerse myself in this genre of music. It has this unique energy and spirit that I don’t seem to be able to find anywhere else. It makes me happy. This record makes me happy.

I’m going to start with the only real negatives I find here. The first thing I noticed when I began listening to this EP was the production. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t difficult to listen to or anything, but the general audio quality made it feel like something genuinely out of the 70s or 80s. Now, some people may actually like this sound, but this record was released in 2017. It’s labelled and sold as an EP; a professional release, not a demo or anything. I think it’s fair to expect more, even if it doesn’t bother me much. For that it’s been docked a few points.

My next and last complaint is one that only applies to one song: the last one on the record, “Fallen Star”. I don’t know why, and I don’t know how this wasn’t noticed during production, but the vocals on this track are mixed way too low. I have to listen closer to hear them well. All other three tracks on the record are consistent in production quality, and each part is easily heard and distinct. This sticks out like a sore thumb, makes the entire record feel less professional, and makes this one track genuinely less enjoyable. And that is really sad, because the song is really good. Were it not for the quiet vocals it would’ve probably been my favorite out of the four. It does still get stuck in my head and is still very enjoyable, despite the slightly awkward listening experience.

Now, we move onto the good stuff. And I will tell you right now that this record oozes the good stuff. What you’ll find here is a selection of catchy trad metal more than worth listening to. The solos are all solid and exciting, the riffs are well-written and effective, and every beat lands as it should. The music feels smooth, for lack of a better word. It’s energetic while having a bit of a loose groove to it, and everything just flows so well. There’s a real balance here between a melodic style and the heavier trad metal elements. As I said before, these songs are catchy. This is a record I have frequently found myself singing along to.

I think a major thing that contributes to the way all of it feels is Church’s vocal style. The only way I think I can describe his singing voice on this record is floaty yet powerful. He makes the delivered lines feel just a bit loose and sloppy, while still hitting every note right. He does this thing where, at the end of a line or phrase, his voice kinda trails off and drops in pitch instead of stopping on the note he first hit. Again, it gives a loose feel without the music actually being loosely played, if that makes sense.

Overall this record is strong, despite my nitpicks about the production; and as the title suggests I would definitely recommend this one. It’s well written, it feels smooth and energetic, and is a real joy to listen to. High Point(s): "As Fire Burns"


I Can't Turn Back, That Ship Has Sailed - 85%

Twisted_Psychology, November 7th, 2017

Aside from being my new least favorite band name to Google, Haunt is a one-man project helmed by Beastmaker guitarist/vocalist Trevor William Church. While Beastmaker and Church’s past bands have always been more on the doom side, Haunt aims for a more old school metal direction. The results certainly hit the mark and Haunt’s debut EP makes for another solid entry into the modern traditional metal scene.

In a way similar to acts like Cauldron or Night Demon, Haunt’s take on classic metal is a blue collar balance between melody and grit likely inspired by Saxon and Angel Witch among others. In addition to modifying his vocal approach to a husky sneer, Church’s instrumentation is all around competent as the drums are steady, the bass is audible, and plenty of guitar harmonies are thrown in for extra authenticity. The production also has a nice lo-fi feel to it, aiding the early 80s atmosphere without undermining the performances or songwriting.

The songwriting is also put together well as each of the four songs includes upbeat tempos and distinct hooks. “As Fire Burns” may be the EP’s standout track, featuring the most memorable chorus as well as a slew of guitar melodies and gallops that would fit right in on any Di’Anno-era Iron Maiden album. The title track and the closing “Fallen Star” also get pretty hooky. There are moments where I wish the songs had more power behind them, particularly in the drumming and vocal departments, but the material’s inherent likeability makes it easy to overlook.

Ironflame may still be my go-to as far as one-man old school metal acts go, but Haunt’s debut EP is a respectable first step. You’ve heard everything that it is doing before but you’ll find plenty of earworms if you’re a fan of the style and I may actually prefer this to Church’s doom projects. A full-length album is rumored to be on the horizon and I imagine it’ll be even more satisfying.

“Luminous Eyes”
“As Fire Burns”

Originally published at

New Wave Of Trad Metal, (Hans) Solo Style - 82%

CHAIRTHROWER, September 25th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, Digital, Independent (Bandcamp)

How about a big hand, here, for Trevor William Church: single-handedly and unassisted, the Fresno, California native - and son of William "Bill" Church, who, once upon a time, played bass for Sammy Hagar - very recently churned out this lowbrow, yet catchily auspicious, debut EP titled Luminous Eyes, the brainchild stemming from his lone wolf venture, Haunt. Comparably crafted i.e. structured as solo Calgarians Shawn Vincent, author of a sci-fi time traveling musical narrative, and traditionally melodic Ezra Brooks, Haunt, thanks to its brief & crisp four track introduction, leaves me pleasurably spooked and clamoring for more!

Released on CD, vinyl and cassette (!) under Shadow Kingdom Records (a fine purveyor of wicked NWOBHM and more recent, various fare such as Hour of 13, Johnny Touch and Pale Divine), the whole thing reeks of no frills albeit majestic glory and a particularly unpretentious yet gripping knack for snappy, hard-driving riffs, sonorous harmonies, free-flowing, mildly jazzy guitar solos as well as concise, evocative vocals which do a "stellar" job of raising the listener to higher plains.

Mid-tempo all around and tempered by a similar bare bones level of production - including guitar/bass tones - as Ezra Brooks, the riffs and drum beats are unhurried, sink in nicely without pomp or flash, and to my ears sound a lot like Tomorrow's Lost era Cauldron, particularly, the final track, "Fallen Star" - which smacks of "Summoned To Succumb"- but longtime metal heads may discern preemptive Iron Maiden/ Angel Witch vibes as well, notably on "Luminous Eyes" proper (truth be told, it should be called "Numinous Eyes"!); to elucidate further, maybe hints of diamonds in the rough akin to Blackmayne, or Blade Runner.

It's unassuming tidbits such as Haunt's Luminous Eyes which potentially lead to eventual full-lengths transcending into cult favorites such as Angel Witch's debut album ('80), Chariot's Burning Ambition ('86) or Shok Paris's Steel And Starlight ('87). That said, we'd do well to focus these "luminous eyes" on upcoming developments...DeLorean, notwithstanding.