Haunt – “Burst Into Flame” CD/LP/Tape (Shadow Kingdom)
Oh wow, these guys were formed by the son of Montrose / Sammy Hagar’s bassist Bill ‘The Electric’ Church – Trevor William Church! Actually more renowned for his other and more darker band, Beastmaker, Haunt is Church’s more melodic late 70s hard rock cum NWOBHM offshoot but man, does it groove. With influences from Angel Witch, Gaskin, Thin Lizzy and of course Montrose evident, the sound is very much rooted in the lavish twin guitars of Church and John William Tucker, also of Beastmaker. Together they produce a spell bounding array of epic and mystical melodies, effectively trading off one another consistently through the riffs and solos and finished nicely by a warm, authentic old school analogue sound across the 9 tracks making up this brilliant debut. Topped off by Church’s own laid back, soulful voice, the material definitely moves with a groove, although it’s definitely ballsy hard rock as opposed to stoner rock especially given that bite from the twin guitars through the slightly dirty sound. From the excellent musicianship to top notch composing, Church has done his father proud in “Burst Into Flame”, which is as much a lamentation over his deceased cousins as fulfilling his destiny as read by a tarot reader, hence the cover depicting the crystal ball gazing lady! Beautifully bursting forth with melodic bliss, the opening title track soon gives way to a speedy maelstrom of warbling melodies, raw riffing and blinding solos blended ever so exquisitely. Despite slowing things down on ‘My Mirage’, the twin axe melodies don’t let up, constantly driving the passion and emotion as indeed they do throughout this amazing release, at times resonating the majesty of Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson, while during other moments its Sammy Hagar or even Maiden’s Murray and Ady Smith – yes my friends, it’s that good! Personal fave for me had to be ‘Heroes’ with its massive epic passion and muscle bound heavy metal drenched in chugging riffola, rich stirring melodies and graced by beautiful soulful vocals sending me to headbanger heaven if ever a true metal release could.