Album Review: Haunt – ‘If Icarus Could Fly’

Another Feather in His Cap

You’re gonna have a tough time finding any review or think-piece discussing Haunt mastermind Trevor William Church without spotting the word prolific in the first paragraph. This is a dude who announced the end of his Beastmaker project’s horror-doom era by releasing 40 (!!!) new songs in 2018. Meanwhile, Haunt’s Burst into Flame hit #12 on this rag’s top albums list last year, and he recently dropped the Mosaic Vision EP. But if you endeavor for that type of productivity for too long you can get lost in the sauce. Almost always, the quality suffers.

Instead of pausing to consider the benefits of slowing his production pace, Church has released Haunt’s new opus, If Icarus Could Fly. The title itself seems to sneer at heeding warnings and industry advice. While Icarus may have plummeted into the sea, Haunt haven’t stopped soaring since Church released Luminous Eyes as a solo oddity.

Everything that made Burst Into Flame a crowd-pleaser is back. Hook-laden choruses and soul-affirming guitarmonies pair with Church’s ever-present pop sensibilities. From the “stand up and fight” command of “Run and Hide” to the sizzle of the final solo, If Icarus Could Fly is a flock of sky-punching anthems. While Church’s nimble riffing lovingly references NWOBHM heroes like Angel Witch and Grim Reaper, it’s through the lens of his own distinct songwriting instincts. You can scour trad metal for direct mimicry, but you won’t find a match for his velvety vocals and radiant riffs. Sure, some song titles (“Winds of Destiny” and “Defenders”) seem like minimally disguised Judas Priest homages. But Church continues to release inspired material at an insane rate by playing NWOBHM with heart instead of muscle and libido.

Review taken from the  July 2019 issue of Decibel.