Haunter – Discarnate Ails

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Formed almost one decade ago the San Antonio-Texas-based four-piece band Haunter has sown the seeds of success in its third full-length album 'Discarnate Ails' out via Profound Lore Records on May 6th, 2022. In fact, the U.S. quartet of Mark Cruz (drums), Enrique Bonilla (guitars), Bradley Tiffin (vocals, guitars), and Cole Tucker (bass) have generally evolved from a screamo band to death metal. The sequence of such progress in sound now shows great features in style by utilizing the progressive guitars to create ominous landscapes.

Despite the ablbum’s short length of three tracks for a total duration of 32 minutes, the guitars focus on applying textures. This method shows the creativity in adding vast spaces. With all the surging dissonance the vocals and the drums blend in together. The instrumentation shimmers and terrifically brings on the interplay of the slow ominous guitar chords. The opening track ‘Overgrown with the Moss’ is a very atmospheric track in which each riff has a distinctive layer and the cavernous tone of the vocals and the guitars bring many beautiful layers to the surface. The brutal growling of guitarist/vocalist Bradley Tiffin bursts like a volcanic eruption. The result is a gripping brew of various styles of technical death metal that is fully coated with progressive elements. There are plenty of fast tempos and melodic textures, but the riffing is versatile and the composition is rooted in the style of cavernous death metal.

Haunter conjures spectacular guitar lines and the effect of the deep guttural growls gives a tranquil atmosphere. While each of the three songs is distinct  one from the other, the guitars mainly have a twisted nature. With its slow thrilling passages, the guitars weave rhythmic lines, rich melodies, lead guitars and excellent drumming. Despite the experimental aspect of the album Haunter injects a dose of brutality. Perhaps the best way to describe the music is that the musical style falls somewhere between early Opeth and Ulcerate.

The composition is simply intriguing, filled with brutal vocals and lush progressive textures. ‘Spiritual Illness’ make full use of the abrasive riffs. There are moments on this track that showcase the technical skills of Enrique Bonilla. The consistent direction of the dense riffing demonstrates the creativity of finding a balance in the tempo. The mid-tempo sections move in such fluidity whereas the drums incorporate blast beats and catchy drum patterns. More enticingly, the guitars unravel cavernous quality while the gnashing percussion offers seismic waves of blast beats and double bass.

It won’t take you long to appreciate the sonic modification of the instruments  and so ‘Discarnate Ails’ has many strong points. The emphasis is put on the atmospheric landscape that somehow evokes the beautiful album cover. Opaque guitar riffs are galore bringing along with the rhythm each riff transition smoothly. The grandiose closure ‘Chained at the Helm of the Eschaton’ clocks in at 13:59 minutes offering a cacophony of dissonance. Within the framework of the songwriting, the guitars gradually insert technical chords that maintain a constant flow of gnashing blast beats.

Unharmonious melody blends in the mix with the intense riffing, and the extra element of death/doom metal often emphasizes the direction of the music. Aesthetically ‘Discarnate Ails’ binds multiple styles resulting in one complex mammoth of an album. The drumming is overwhelmingly brutal and intricately technical. The music literally broods on slow catchy passages when the drums suddenly blast out at high speed, where the tempo is focused on building up cavernous death metal brutality. The riffing keeps coming like a maelstrom weaving aggression and the technical skills of the band, the twisted dissonance utilizes a variety of tonal harmonies. Haunter’s musical abilities prove the aesthetic evolution seems to be more complicated than I expected, the riffing department extends across different styles only to add a more intriguing composition.

REVIEW SCORE

  • Music / Songwriting 9/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
  • Mix / Production 8/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 8/10
  • Originality 8/10
8.4

‘Discarnate Ails’ is a terrific album meticulously wielded by this Texan death metal who offers only three songs that pinpoint the excellent performance of the band.

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