I've been an obsessed hard rock/heavy metal fan and collector since the early 1980s. If it's got a good guitar riff and attitude, I'm in.
Timeless Haunt, "Dark for Life"
Genre: Traditional/Power Metal
Release: Stormspell Records, 2021
8 Tracks / Run Time: 41:26
I was extremely impressed by Haunted Symphony, the debut EP from Pennsylvania's Timeless Haunt, when I reviewed it for this fine website back in 2019. This horror-themed melodic metal band plays with tons of conviction and slathers their music in spooky atmosphere, casting the kind of supernatural spell that I hadn't heard since the glory days of King Diamond's 1980s reign. It's been a long dry spell between albums, but the darkness returned in March 2021, when Timeless Haunt's full-length debut album, Dark for Life, was released through the true-metal specialists at Stormspell Records It was definitely worth waiting for!
Led by the enigmatic, masked powerhouse "Unknown" on lead vocals (or just "Un" to his friends), Timeless Haunt takes listeners on a metallic journey through all things creepy, moody, and cool on the eight tracks of Dark for Life with top notch musicianship courtesy of guitarist Tommy Eye, keyboardist Don Fortune, bassist George Dmitri, and drummer John Jesuele. Together this five-piece band occupies a unique place at the intersection of symphonic and power metal, with just a pinch of groove to give things an extra bit of nastiness and bite. If that sounds good to you, let's press "play" and re-enter the dark world of Timeless Haunt...if you dare (heh heh heh...).
Dark For Life kicks off with the intro "Geisterton," which sets a proper horror-movie mood with scary sound effects and an old fashioned backwards message (don't tell Tipper Gore!) which ends with Unknown growling menacingly, "EMBRACE... the HAUNT" before launching into a track by the same name. "Embrace..." is a swirling, chugging head banger oozing with attitude and it gets things off to a killer start. The title track is up next and it begins on a deceptively soothing note, slowly piling on the menace as it goes along before it finally crashes into a full-on metal pounder when the chorus comes in. Mister "Unknown" really goes for broke on this track, recalling such high-pitched vocal masters as James Rivera (Helstar) and the late, great Midnight (Crimson Glory).
Fortune's plaintive piano and Eye's slippery fretboard work on the intro to "Sinful Girl" brings back fond memories of Savatage, but then the band puts the gas pedal to the floor, turning it into a power metal stomper with a heavy Black Sabbath feel.
The very Queensrÿche-ish "Pain" is the mid point highlight of Dark For Life, an impressive acoustic-based epic with more awe-inspiring vocal acrobatics from "Unknown." The mellow interlude doesn't last long before Timeless Haunt launches into "526," my personal favorite track on the album. It's a punishingly heavy number that borders on thrash at times and gives the musicians plenty of opportunity to show off their down n' dirty metal chops.
The lumbering, bass-heavy "Not For Me" grinds along at a bouncy, head banging pace and then Dark For Life ends with an out-of-left-field, surprisingly cool metallized cover of Chris Isaak's 1989 hit "Wicked Game." I've never been a particularly big fan of the original, but Timeless Haunt's goth-metal makeover gives this oldie an interesting twist; the result is somewhat similar to the vibe of classic Type O Negative. It's a neat way to cap off a quality package.
"Wicked Game" (Chris Isaak cover)
Summing it Up
Dark For Life doesn't merely pick up where the Haunted Symphony EP left off, it shows Timeless Haunt expanding their sound and bringing it to the next level. Everything on Dark For Life simply sounds bigger, from the performances to the vocals to the production. In short, Timeless Haunt has stepped up its (wicked) game, big time. Fans of classic metal in general, but especially bands on the darker end of the spectrum (i.e. King Diamond/Mercyful Fate, early Savatage, Morgana Lefay, etc.) should be pleased by this Haunt's timeless sound.
If you like what you hear in the YouTube samples included with this article, you can learn more about Timeless Haunt's metallic mission at their official Facebook page, and Dark For Life CDs can be ordered directly from Stormspell Records.
Timeless Haunt is a band to watch, and I look forward to seeing where they go from here!
© 2021 Keith Abt