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, "Haunted Symphony" EP
Label: Self-Released, 2018/Stormspell Records, 2019
Genre: Heavy Metal
Run Time: 27:58
You can instantly turn any time of year into Halloween simply by pressing the "play" button on Haunted Symphony, the debut EP from American melodic metallers Timeless Haunt. This impressive disc of spooky horror-themed heaviness was independently released by the band in late 2018, but the disc was reissued in November 2019 by the true-metal specialists at Stormspell Records.
"Sands of Agony"
So, Who the Heck Is Timeless Haunt?
Timeless Haunt are apparently trying to project an aura of mystery to match their supernaturally-themed music. The band has its own website and they also have pages on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, but it was a frustrating experience trying to find any kind of background information on them in preparation for this article.
All I can tell you is that Timeless Haunt apparently hails from the Eastern U.S., and they've been together since the fall of 2018. Their lead singer is known only by the stage name of "Vocalist Unknown" (woo, spooky!), and though the remaining four members claim to have lengthy resumes within their local music scenes, none of their previous band names are mentioned.
Timeless Haunt has a handful of live performances under their belts, and, if the concert photos I've seen online are accurate, their gigs appear to be quite a flashy, horror themed visual experience as well. . .
But, anyway, wherever these guys have been hiding, the five tracks on Haunted Symphony are satisfying slabs of moody, atmospheric metal with the perfect balance of melody and crunchy grooves.
Stormspell's promotional materials for Haunted Symphony compared Timeless Haunt's sound to classic, theatrically-obsessed metal bands as Savatage, Psychotic Waltz, and Iced Earth, which I can conditionally agree with, but after a few listens to the CD I would also add some obvious names like Alice Cooper, King Diamond and Van Helsing's Curse (does anyone besides me remember them?) to the list. In short: if heavy theatrical rock is your thing, then Timeless Haunt should fit nicely into your playlists.
Haunted Symphony kicks off with the pace-setting "March of Death," which starts the album on an appropriately creepy note. The Savatage comparisons seem particularly accurate on this track, as the keyboard stylin's of Don Fortune mesh nicely with the heavy guitar riffs of Jimmy (The Electric) Eye and bassist George Dmitri to create a melodic and sinister mood.
"Claustrophobia" starts with an impressively nimble bass workout from Dmitri before it shifts into mid-paced classic metal gear ala vintage Judas Priest. I'm particularly impressed with the versatile vocals of Mr. "Vocalist Unknown," whoever he may be. His sinister snarls remind me at times of Savatage's Jon Oliva (circa their doomy, creepy Sirens or The Dungeons are Calling eras) but when he goes for broke on those rafter-shaking high notes, legends like Rob Halford or James Rivera (Helstar) come to mind.
"Claustrophobia" runs a little bit long at eight minutes but it's got spooky atmosphere to spare. We then move onto "Hellion Witch," (that's a cool song title, but it would also be a good band name!), which opens on a doomy, Black Sabbath-y note and then settles into a chugging, classic metal groove. There's a bit of a Pantera feel to the chunky riffing of "Darkness Falls," a quality melodic-metal cut with just the right amount of bite.
We return to Savatage territory again with the EP's closing track, the epic ballad "Sands of Agony." This is a show stopping display of moody piano playing intertwined with soaring guitar work and emotive vocals that would do the Oliva brothers proud. I think I would have liked the disc to close with a heavier track, but "Sands of Agony" brings the EP to a satisfactory close anyway, and makes you hit the "repeat" button for another spin as soon as it ends.
Summing It Up
I wish Haunted Symphony was longer than just five tracks—by the time "Sands of Agony" came to a close, I was just starting to get into it and hoping to hear more. The good news is that according to the band's Facebook page, Timeless Haunt are currently writing songs for a follow up release with plans to head back into the recording studio in early 2020. Bring it on, fellas, because this is good stuff.
If you're interested in learning more, you can check out Timeless Haunt on their Facebook page, or their official YouTube channel, which warns us that "Timeless Haunt isn't coming, Timeless Haunt is invading. Be ready." I am!
© 2019 Keith Abt