Though not quite veterans US hard rock/heavy metal band The Haunting has been around for just over a decade and is still relatively unknown outside of their homeland but with their latest album Beyond These Doors the chances of that changing are greatly raised. Displaying a straightforward blend of rock, metal and punk the Californian quartet have released an album that is simple pure rock ‘n’ roll without any complications or pretence. Uncluttered and direct Beyond These Doors just parties in the ear with heavy riffs and clean dark melodies that are as engaging as they are punchy.
Formed in 1999 by lead guitarist Randy Korstick and drummer Jessie “2 Feathers” Melendrez, The Haunting gained their current line-up the following year with the addition of vocalist/guitarist Raven Celata and bassist Mike Gjede. Two demos in 2000 and 2002 started gaining them attention alongside shows but it was not until 2009 that the band entered Dinky Music studio in Corona, California to work on and subsequently release their album No One’s Innocent. 2010 saw them spend the whole year writing and working on its follow-up Beyond These Doors to be released earlier this year with the singles from it ‘Crank Up the Amps’ and ‘The Loser in Me’ leading the way.
The songs on Beyond These Doors are generally themed from horror movies and carry an attitude that challenges you not to like them but no one can win that test with the eager and addict forming tunes on offer. Musically the band is a hybrid of Misfits/Ramones punk metal, Alice Cooper classic rock, and Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers rock ‘n’ roll. The clean simplicity of all those bands in league with ear catching instantaneous riffs and hooks that demand attention combining into an irresistible mix.
The first track ‘Crank Up the Amps’ opens on a definite Heartbreakers type sound, its open rock ‘n’ roll directness eager to have fun. As the track declares “We got a rock ‘n’ roll party tonight” that is what it delivers without any qualms. The early Misfits toned ‘Creation’ takes over with Celata’s slightly Danzig like vocals and striking guitars teasing and taunting with riffs and razor sharp solos. The song, as is eventually revealed across all songs on the release, is never going to offer up the intricacies of progressive guitars and complicated rhythms from a Mastodon or the rampaging violence of a Brutal Truth but honest music that is just as definite to excite with its dark compulsive rock sounds.
Each song is an intriguing and appeasing slice but ‘The Loser in Me’ with a sound bringing strong flavours from UK 70’s punk, another Misfits spiced burst of catchy rock in the shape of ‘The Knife’, and the addictive ‘Two O’Clock In The Morning’ blessed with more rock ‘n’ roll harking back to Johnny Thunders and a touch of New York Dolls, stand out from what are ten thoroughly enjoyable and fun tracks.
Beyond These Doors to be honest has nothing particularly new about it but that is its big positive in many ways. It’s bringing in of obvious influences which every metal fan will find something to reminisce over, but used in the band’s own dark themed and joyful horror homage is an inviting and deeply satisfying result. The Haunting may still be a band that has still to enter your shadows but once it does their wicked rock ‘n’ roll grip will feed your heart for a long time to come.