Written by: Blackie Skulless
Woah man, the usual rate for Haunt dropping releases is one full-length per year, with a complimentary EP to go along with it. But 2020 is different, and considering the amount of shit this year has offered humanity, it’s nice when things are different for the better. Frontman Trevor Church dropped Haunt’s third album Mind Freeze at the beginning of the year--an album of the year contender for sure. But instead of an EP to follow, we get a second full-length under the name Flashback.
Unsurprisingly, this is the cleanest effort the band has dropped to date, especially considering the vocals taking more of the forefront than ever before. I chalk that up to the concise and clear delivery. Additionally, we’re met with a far warmer feeling to contrast the previous record, fitting the summer time feelings, rather than the winter ones of the previous effort. It’s probably safe to say that this is also where Haunt were reaching for more of a pop-metal aesthetic, especially with “Electrified.” The chorus is catchy as hell and somewhat watered down, though it isn’t bad by any stretch of the word. You just can’t ignore the prettier nature and simplistic build.
But Flashback isn’t all like that. “One With The Universe” jumps on the speed metal train with zero hesitation, blasting away with thunderous drums and blitzing riffs. The opening title track picks up some tricks from before, dumping on the synths, powerful chorus, and strong solos that represent the two halves of the song. The riffing here is memorable, and that track was an incredible one to open on.
All of this does unfortunately make this the least structured Haunt album to date. Flashback lacks consistency as well. Though the run-time is short, there are signs of rushing with a focus on getting more music quickly, instead of carefully. With that, some of the lyrics are also more hokey than normal. “Spend A Fortune” somewhat captures all of this, combining the speed of “One With The Universe” but the simplicity of “Electrified,” making for a hollow song. I also didn’t really care for the vocal delivery on “Figure In A Painting,” however the synthy bridge and guitar crawls were nice.
Basically I got what I was expecting. When you kick out a second full-length so soon after a tremendous one, it’s likely going to fall a bit short of the bar that was set, especially with less time to work on the material. The latest Haunt album overall has some incredible songs with plenty of memorability, it just could have used a second set of ears in some spots. Definitely worth the spin for the traditional metal fanboy.
Haunt - Flashback was released July 3rd, 2020 from Church Recordings
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