Belfast post-doom/grunge metallers Haint are on the verge of releasing their debut EP, Terminally Evolved, and on first listen, this is an EP that has truly hit the ground running with its ferocious pace and its immense power. The Northern Irish trio have had to fight hard and had to dig deep within themselves to reach this point, and if there was ever a band that got to where they are today on merit, Haint hold all the aces. The winners of the 2022 Metal 2 The Masses have conjured up an EP that sees diversity and hard graft metamorphosize into a post metal/ grunge infused entity that thrives and flourishes upon each listen.
The opening track, Ares doesn’t hold back as it pulverizes the senses right from the get-go with an onslaught of gravel-choked vocals and brutally heavy riffs that blow the holes in the walls, before transitioning into a melodic and unyielding tirade that locks and loads without mercy. It’s catchy, it’s aggressive and it’s addictive, as it shapeshifts though many different shapes and patterns.
The atmosphere is turned on it head with the following track, Hal, with its Alice In Chains inspired harmonies and its heavy, down tuned rhythm guitars. Spoken words reverb through the clammer before a lush wall of noise assembles and carries you through a beautifully melodic passage that echoes Tools’ Schism, both in delivery and structure. Screaming At The Storm continues with more clean, harmonized vocals and another solid slab of meaty melancholic meanderings that are occasionally sliced open with more of those rasping, visceral growls. Other than that, the track remains relatively calm and composed and is solid piece of work.
Everything I Lost stands out from the rest as it morphs through many different vocal styles. Each one is delivered with great power and intent, as you’d expect, but the way in which they all differ in tone and texture is a joy to listen to. Too many bands become stagnant and predictable with one constant tone, but Haint aren’t afraid to throw caution to the wind and flood the music with some brilliant, and often beautiful vocal acrobatics.
Closing with more Tool inspired atmospherics, Genius Loci brings more of Haints heft and fury along for one final swansong. It’s equally as good as everything that went before it and closes the EP with the greatest of convictions. To be honest, I still struggle to decipher what constitutes an album or an EP these days, I mean we have five tracks to drool over here, altogether weighing in at just under 30 minutes! Either way, Terminally Evolved is quality and is a statement of intent by the band. It’s early days in their journey, but the future is bright and given the support they deserve, we’ll be hearing a lot more from Haint.