After the strength of Haunter‘s 2016 debut album (Thrinodia) and splits with Crawl, Sovereign, and Black Vice, hopes have been high for this Texas band’s next album, which is now set for release on September 13th by I, Voidhanger Records. It is no exaggeration to say that even the most fervent and optimistic hopes have been exceeded. Across the five substantial tracks included on Sacramental Death Qualia, Haunter have created an authentic musical adventure. Their compositions have become even more creatively elaborate, more technically demanding, and more unpredictable. The whole trip is one of those forays into extreme music that’s capable of leaving listeners wide-eyed and breathless.
The album invades a small sector of music that isn’t densely populated, a place sought out by travelers who enjoy high-flying progressive adventurousness — when it’s experienced within an extreme framework, intertwined with the sounds of violence and insanity, of desolation and despair. Sacramental Death Qualia delivers its mind-bending permutations with exactly that kind of harrowing intensity, but its surprises don’t end with the intricacy of the movements and the sharpness of the dark mood swings. As you’ll discover through the song we’re presenting today, Haunter are equally capable of creating moments of spell-binding beauty.
In this song, “Spoils Vultured Upon Sole Deletion“, the spell-casting comes at the beginning and again at the end — the music light, bright, and clean at the outset, moody and mystical at the end, bewitching in both instances. In between, Haunter run wild, creating a dense yet kaleidoscopic onslaught of sound, a lightning storm of racing distortion and battering drums, of darting bass notes and slithering, searing leads, of monstrous roars and flesh-stripping shrieks. The instrumental permutations are mercurial and mystifying, the dissonance unnerving, the sheer fury spine-tingling.
Some of the changes are more unexpected than others, as when the music abruptly transforms into a softer instrumental interlude, which seems to straddle a line between jazz and futuristic eeriness. Just as abrupt is the following eruption of blaring and braying arpeggios, skittering riffs, and rapidly shifting drum and bass rhythms. When the pace slows, again, the atmosphere becomes dirge-like and haunting, mountainously heavy in the low end, but paired with the wraithlike reverberation of a high, wailing guitar melody. From there, the music builds in intensity more seamlessly than in preceding changes, gradually becoming more and more fiery and fierce, scaling to a dramatic crescendo before arriving at that closing gossamer spell — where you can breathe again.
“Spoils Vultured Upon Sole Deletion” is the second song to be revealed from this extraordinary album. We’ve previously written about that earlier one, “Dispossessed Phrenic Antiquity“, which is also riotously adventurous and constantly surprising. If you missed it before, you’ll find it below along with our premiere.
Sacramental Death Qualia features wonderful cover art by Elijah Tamu, and it was mastered by Brendan Sloan (Convulsing). I, Voidhanger will release the album on LP and CD, and digitally, with cassettes coming our way via Tartarus Records. In describing the music, I, Voidhanger makes allusions to Gorguts, Immolation, and early Opeth, and we might add Krallice and Blood Incantation.
One final note before the pre-order link: Haunter will be touring the U.S. in support of the new album (with support from Anicon on some of the stops), and we’ve included the current schedule of dates below the song streams.
SACRAMENTAL DEATH QUALIA TOUR 2019 (*with ANICON)
Friday 10/18/2019 Chicago, IL
Saturday 10/19/2019 Minneapolis, MN
Sunday 10/20/2019 Denver, CO
Tuesday 10/22/2019 Spokane, WA
Wednesday 10/23/2019 Portland, OR
Thursday 10/24/2019 Seattle, WA
Friday 10/25/2019 Arcata, CA *
Saturday 10/26/2019 Reno, NV *
Sunday 10/27/2019 San Francisco, CA *
Monday 10/28/2019 Oakland, CA *
Tuesday 10/29/2019 Los Angeles, CA *
Wednesday 10/30/2019 Phoenix, AZ *
Thursday 10/31/2019 El Paso, TX *
Friday 11/1/2019 Dallas, TX *
Saturday 11/2/2019 Houston, TX
Sunday 11/3/2019 Austin, TX