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United States Country of Origin: United States

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Buy on: Bandcamp
Type: Full-Length
Release Date: March 1st, 2024
Label: Independent
Genre: Heavy
1. Serenade
2. Locked Out
3. Steel Mountains
4. Return To Sender
5. Send Me An Angel (Real Life Cover)
6. Dreamers
7. One Chance
8. Visions

Review by Vladimir on March 18, 2024.

Californian heavy metal band Haunt returns with yet another release with a simple task to rock out and please their loyal fanbase. As of recently, they released their tenth full-length album Dreamers on March 1st, 2024, with a new dimension open for those who are still willing to explore the realm of Haunt and discover what lies beyond. Is this Dreamer worth checking out? Stick around to find out…

Haunt yet again rides and dominates with some incredibly catchy bangers full of heaviness, melody and strength of steel, with powerful and emotional vocals by Trevor William Church which add a lot of emotion and more dimension to the music. The songs express so many personal feelings which are mixed with themes of supernatural and fantasy, while keeping constant track on rocking out with all heavy metal power and glory. During the entire album, you will come across some interesting moments that will instantly grab your attention and pull you in arms away, from the very first track 'Serenade' which has a very acoustic guitar ballad intro and outro, as well as a brief psychedelic moment. An interesting example where Haunt decides to go even heavier is on the third track 'Steel Mountains', which has a very synthwave intro that sets the stage for what is to come. This song in particular has a brief moment where it heads for a more thrash/speed metal direction during the second half, which breaks away from the standard mid-tempo style with occasional instances of faster heavy metal but still remaining true to the band’s sound. Another interesting inclusion on this album is the cover of 'Send Me An Angel' by the Australian new wave/synth pop band Real Life, which heads for a complete 80’s hard rock/AOR/synth rock direction that gives such a nostalgic time travel with a DMC DeLorean to the year 1983. As an epic conclusion to this wet dreamer’s experience, the final track 'Visions' finishes everything off in a very oldschool US power metal fashion to let you know that these 30 minutes were indeed worth it.

The songwriting on this album is simple but very solid where every riff and every chorus is on point, while following a very basic song structure with a standard stylistic template, but without ever feeling “used out” or “repetitive”. Apart from these aforementioned exceptional moments, the majority of this album is the classic Haunt that we’ve come to know and love, which I believe is exactly what we have come to hear but with a couple of surprises. Interesting thing about Haunt and how Trevor writes every new material is that it feels like each track on the album was meant to be a hit song or a heavy metal anthem, mostly due to the uplifting spirit that flows through every chorus and every riff. Haunt’s overall musical simplicity truly manages to remain expressive and effective throughout the entirety of the album, while also leaving plenty of space for new ideas that have not been used before or not to a certain extent. Although some people might complain that Haunt is a very “one style template” heavy metal band, I still think that they are simply failing to understand the fact that the band always stays on track without ending in the realm of generic bands. In my humble opinion, I feel like all the songs on this album are very enjoyable heavy metal serenades worth revisiting. What I think Haunt did better this time than on their previous album Golden Arm from last year, is that they managed to make this album last longer with a total runtime of 31 minutes and 19 seconds, which makes this one a more prolonged entertainment that does not have any filler moments. Production-wise, Dreamers isn’t all that different from Golden Arm, because it once again has that sweet crystal-clear sound, although with much more synthesizers that give an additional layer to the album.

I personally never ever felt like there was anything to criticize about Haunt’s discography, because they keep their game strong and relevant. If one could ever find anything to fault about their work, it is only because they just can’t enjoy simple things and are probably looking for a needle in a haystack. I think I enjoyed Dreamers more than Golden Arm, mostly due to the fact that it has plenty of likeable stuff on here and then some, but I still think that it’s not really worth comparing their albums because they are mostly staying faithful to their oldschool heavy metal songwriting formula. I feel like Haunt only wishes to expand their story by adding new chapters with every album that comes out, without leaving the fans feeling empty or unimpressed in the end, which I think deserves immense support and respect from those who swear in the name of “New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal”.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10