Written by: Blackie Skulless
For the past couple of years, Fresno California’s Haunt had been slowly incorporating synthier and poppier elements into their brand of metal to evolve alongside the fast turnaround of album releases. This strategy fared wonderfully, and slowly became the norm. Despite not having a bad album to his name, I did fear that Trevor was beginning to craft under a stagnant umbrella, as Beautiful Distraction and Windows Of Your Heart cast similar sounds that regenerated the foundation built with the two records before that. Damn, that takes us to album number seven already, doesn’t it?
I’m thrilled to say that Golden Arm takes a slight leap in the heavier direction. This could have led to a “throwback” type of release that goes back in time four years to the first two records, but instead, I’m picking up hints of power metal flavors, which I can’t say I’ve really seen much of in the band’s career yet. If nothing else, there’s certainly a hint of epic leanings that grip the speedier aspects and run with them. The record’s title track makes this evident in its calmer build before casting a powerful spell in the solo, spearheaded by an incredible transition.
It only makes sense for Golden Arm to introduce a more fierce tone to many of the vocal passages. The guitars swing in very hard on “Save Yourself” to match Church’s muscle-meets-melody delivery, likely making this my favorite tune. Closer “The Horse’s Mouth” amps this up to great extremes, pounding through with aggressive tones at a fast pace. To the opposite end, tracks like “Piece By Piece” are very refreshing, contrasting with softer coats that don’t tread anywhere near ballad territory; just lots of harmony! Same could even be said about the drumming on “Chimera,” as it has such a huge presence without being overwhelming.
Perhaps I’m not going to hold this in the same regard that I hold the likes of Mind Freeze, but Haunt have clearly made a step in the right direction here. It does feel like it could be a transitional album, working towards full-on epic metal territory, which would be pretty neat if they went that route next. Minor kinks such as the repetitiveness in “Fight The Good Fight” do exist, but overall I find this easier to return to than anything since Flashback (not counting the acoustic masterpiece). As with any of their records, definitely worth hearing for any fan of the traditional metal style.
Haunt - Golden Arm was released May 5th, 2023
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.