Review by Vladimir on May 7, 2023.
What can I say, May 5th sure as hell was a great day to release great heavy metal albums, right? I mean it’s insane to even think that Haunt from the US and Enforcer from Sweden would end up releasing their new albums on the same day. Revenge of the Fifth, I guess. Never mind, back to the point. Heavy metal band Haunt from the US has just released their ninth full-length album Golden Arm via Iron Grip Records. Although I am not an active follower of Haunt, I am impressed with the fact that the band is constantly active and releasing new stuff each year, be it EPs or albums. What I always admired about the band is that vintage retro quality of their album covers and also their music which also scream oldschool 80’s heavy metal.
The first track 'Hit And Run' immediately starts rocking full throttle as the wild guitar riffs, melodic vocals and fast drumming carry this joyride towards the burning highway. The second title track 'Golden Arm' takes a more melodic songwriting approach, with a dynamic arrangement that mostly incorporates mid-tempo style along with a faster paced rhythm for a brief moment. The fourth track 'Chimera' is definitely the catchiest of them all on this album, with very melodic and powerful solos that nicely add their spice to the already enjoyable flavor. The fifth track 'Fight The Good Fight' is pretty interesting for being also quite catchy but melodic mid-tempo heavy metal song with some certain level of quality to it. If you ask me, this song could easily belong on the charts for MTV’s rock hits in the 80’s, especially with the music video that they also released for the song. The sixth track 'Save Yourself', when compared to the previous one, is somewhat a very similar template in both style and mood, although maybe with some slight differences here and there. The final two tracks 'Vacant Spaces' and 'The Horses Mouth' are also pretty good, one being more simplistic mid-tempo heavy metal, while the other one is aggressive and savage with frequent but overall great guitar solos which to some may seem to be there just for good measure. What’s really unusual is that the entire album, despite having a total of 8 songs, is quite short with its length of 27 and a half minutes. Honestly, it does feel like this album could more or less easily pass as a longer EP. My only issue with this album is that, although having great and banger songs, it feels like it just ends without any great sense of closure. Maybe this is a bit of nit-picking from my side, but I personally love when the final tracks leave a really good pay off for the entire experience, but in the case of 'The Horses Mouth' it felt like it wasn’t really it. Nothing wrong with the song as a whole, it’s actually a great song, but the album felt more or less done once the song was finished. Production-wise, there isn’t much that I could add other than that it’s really good and well-balanced, even the guitar tone perfectly fits the incorporated C standard tuning.
Despite the fact that Haunt is constantly rocking out new releases like there’s no tomorrow, the best thing about it is that they at least manage to come out with something that is both listenable and enjoyable. Golden Arm is an overall great album which I think can be enjoyed for its simplicity and catchiness. I respect the fact that Haunt, although being solely spearheaded by Trevor William Church, obviously doesn’t feel the need to become exceptional or go hard on their music just for the purpose of exceling.
Rating: 8.2 out of 101.02k