PICK OF THE WEEK: Haunt deliver vintage riffs, true metal glory with blasting ‘Burst Into Flame’

This is the weekend in Pittsburgh we have come to celebrate all realms of heavy metal. There will be so many different styles on display over three days, that it’s kind of overwhelming. But no matter the sound, it all goes back to the genre’s roots, which is another thing we’re going to talk about today.

Trevor William Church already has his DNA entrenched in heavy music and metal. His father Bill “The Electric” Church played bass in Montrose and with Sammy Hagar’s solo band, and Trevor himself already was a part of two noteworthy records made by doom warriors Beastmaker. Now, he’s struck out on his own with Haunt, a band that sounds like it arrived straight from late 1970s and early 1980s metal, where there were no sub-genres or divided scenes. Instead, people celebrated the power of all kinds of heavy metal, and Haunt delve right into the heart of that on their debut record “Burst Into Flame.” The band initially offered up a “Luminous Eyes” EP before this that hinted at what was ahead, and this nine-track, 38-minute powerhouse pays off that promise and takes you back to a time before people squabbled over dumb bullshit and just listened to the music. Church is joined in this band by fellow Beastmaker member John William Tucker (guitars), Matthew Wilhoft (bass), and Daniel “Wolfy” Williams (drums) to round out this killer unit that reminds of the majesty of metal.

We open with the title track, as killer riffs well up, and Church vows, “No one can take me off my throne.” Guitars continue to chug and rumble, with the power of the song pushing right to the end, when Church reveals, “I can feel no pain!” “Crystal Ball” has riffs encircling, as the singing is pulled back a bit, with Church noting, “Omen appears, prophecy’s coming.” The soloing scorches, and there’s a damn solid chorus before coming to a crunchy end. “Reflectors” has a charging throwback riff, as the song tumbles with the idea of one’s inner thoughts and feelings being on constant display. “My Mirage” has a killer Thin Lizzy feel, with strong verses that get the blood pumping, and another round of sweltering riffs, ending with Church calling, “I can’t survive.”

“Wanderlust” hits the gas pedal and rips into speedier territory, feeling like an old Ozzy song in the best possible way. “Navigate the stars to find my love,” Church wails, as crushing soloing burns toward the song’s end. “Frozen in Time” is a really good one, as moody guitars send the song into the stratosphere, as the words examine trying to find your way back to who you used to be. The chorus is devastating, while the rest of the track boils in energy. “Heroes” pays homage to those who put their lives on the line to protect others and pay the ultimate price. “Victim of a wound that never heals,” Church sings, as the emotion and power of the song are front and center. “Can’t Get Back” pumps adrenaline, as Church vows his time will not be forgotten, with the insistence of, “My story’s not been told.” It’s a killer cut that revels in 1980s fireworks. “Looking Glass” is your closer, as the guitars darken the mood, the soloing takes off, and the pace charges heavily, with a big finish causing the lava to overflow and bring the record to a thunderous end.

We’re spoiled with all the different ways people have interpreted and played heavy metal over the past decades, but let’s remember it all comes back to the roots. Haunt still feed from that area on “Burst Into Flame,” a record that should help you break loose and bask in the power of their energy. This is a fun, glorious album that bridges the years from metal’s start to our overflowing riches we enjoy today.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/hauntthenation/

To buy the album, go here: https://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/album/burst-into-flame

For more on the label, go here: https://www.shadowkingdomrecords.com/

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