Haunt - Burst Into Flame review

Bandcamp music player

22 users:
Band: Haunt
Album: Burst Into Flame
Release date: August 2018

01. Burst Into Flame
02. Crystal Ball
03. Reflectors
04. My Mirage
05. Wanderlust
06. Frozen In Time
07. Heroes
08. Can't Get Back
09. Looking Glass

In theory, Haunt tick a lot of boxes that would make me jump at the chance to listen to any of their recorded output; guitar-driven music that pays homage to traditional heavy metal of the past with a good singer behind the microphone? All the boxes are ticked off, and yet the band's debut Burst Into Flame leaves you wondering how something can set itself up so well yet miss the target by such a wide margin.

The album sets itself up perfectly with the title track kicking off the album and living up to expectations, leading you to believe you are in for one hell of a ride before then slipping into average territory for all but two more songs on the album (even then they are good not great).

So how do Haunt miss the target they are so well aimed for? While the songs sound like traditional heavy metal songs, you come to realize for the most part they are paper thin imitations of the genre; they are trying to relight the fire of old with damp matches. Songs like "Crystal Ball" or "Heroes" sound like they are up to the task, but once they start playing you come to realize it's pretty hollow of content.

Take "My Mirage" as an example: the guitar sounds perfect but only plays a fairly generic riff, and the rest of the band (or Church anyway) sound competent but lifeless while Church sings pretty generic lyrics in what comes off as a half-hearted manner. "Wanderlust" is much the same; the song starts off with a great solo and full of life, accelerating out of the gate before meekly taking its foot of the accelerator and following the speed limit.

The aforementioned good tracks? Well, the title track hits the bullseye square on; where most of the songs on the album start off strong before dropping back into mediocrity, the title track picks up the ball and runs to the touchline while never looking back. It is a shame the rest of the album isn't to the same standard as this song, for Burst Into Flame would easily be a 9/10 album. Alas, only "Frozen In Time" and "Can't Get Back" come anywhere close to matching the title track and even then they're some distance off, listenable when this album is already on but not worth seeking out for them alone.

The band are competent players but they don't push themselves for much of the album, happy to sit back at cruising speed and let the album play itself out. Church and Tucker have the perfect tone and sound for their guitars, but it's wasted on riffs that just are not that interesting. Wilson and Wilhoit sit in a groove and don't venture out from it; they hold their own but leave the heavy lifting for the guitars and vocals. Speaking of which, Church has a great voice for this kind of music, strong yet not overpowering, but he doesn't do much with it and coasts on its innate appeal.

Haunt deserve another chance to live up to their potential that is evident across Burst Into Flame, learning the lessons that arise when listening to this album. As for the album itself? Search out the title track but leave it at that; it won't ruin your day, but you will feel like you could have spent your time better.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 6
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Production: 9

Written by omne metallum | 22.05.2020


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Hits total: 200 | This month: 1