Haunt - Luminous Eyes
Shadow Kingdom Records
NWOBHM / Traditional Heavy Metal
4 songs (17' 52")
Release year: 2017
Shadow Kingdom Records
Reviewed by Andy

Just recently we reviewed a one-man heavy metal project that made a very strong showing, and a few weeks later, we've got our hands on a similar project: Haunt's debut EP, Luminous Eyes, a Bandcamp project of Beastmaker's Trevor William Church. Where Beastmaker served up Sabbath-style stoner doom, Haunt has a late 70s NWOBHM feel, right down to the retro cover illustration that one would expect to see on something in the bottom of a garage-sale cardboard box. It's a perfect preview of what's inside.

It's clear that these modern one-man projects, backed by an enthusiastic craftsman and modern recording and distribution technology, can deliver a vibe very similar to that of hearing some of the 70s-80s heavy metal for the first time. The production has a gritty sound, and Church gets the overdrive on the guitar distortion just right, putting it ahead of the drums, which are a bit muddy. The vocals, too, reveal few hints that this is a modern record; clean and high, they could easily be pulled from a lost demo tape of early Angel Witch, with the one missing element being the falsetto screams of yesteryear. The typical beat on the songs offered is mid-tempo, with the riffing running at roughly twice the speed, making the songs heavier than they would otherwise be.

As for the melodies, they too are lovingly-made samples of NWOBHM nostalgia. From the swinging beat of As Fire Burns to the proto-thrash and clean solo attack of Fallen Star, they'd be hard to differentiate from their predecessors of 40 years ago. However, those melodies are not quite as dramatic as early NWOBHM tunes were famous for; if they were lost demos, they'd have been the B sides for sure. This is early yet in Haunt's existence as a project, so I consider this a pretty minor quibble; Church has plenty of time to make the tunes as strong as the sonic atmosphere he is attempting to create. At any rate, it's a good start.

Bandcamp: https://hauntthenation.bandcamp.com/releases.

Killing Songs :
Luminous Eyes, Fallen Star
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