Back To Haunt
Released: 2016, Pure Steel Records
I was writing some album reviews in late October and I was in the Halloween spirit…Halloween is after all the ‘Heavy Metal Holy Day’! Please enjoy this mini-seasonal themed set of reviews of 10 albums by Cradle Of Filth Ichabod Krane, Lordi, Metal Witch, October 31, Poltergeist, Sleepy Hollow, Them and Trick or Treat!
There are so many albums released a year no one person can follow all of them. A couple of times a year there are certain Metal bands that have been long defunct for years and years and suddenly reform and catch you completely off guard. For example, in 2013, it was Toranaga reformed after 23 years. In 2014, it was Warrant (Ger.) who reformed after 29 years and released an album. In 2015, it was Ruthless with a new album after a 30-year break. Earlier this year Q5 reformed after 30 years and then Vardis reformed after 30 years and both released new studio albums. Now in late 2016 all of a sudden, out of the blue, we get a new Poltergeist album after 23 years! All of this is living proof that Metal never dies.
Switzerland’s/Germany’s Poltergeist has the distinction of being one of the very first bands ever signed to the Century Media Records label back in 1989. I remember them, they were a decent little thrash band sitting in the second tier and second wave in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I bought the second album (BEHIND MY MASK) on cassette (I still have it tucked away) and it was OK, solid thrash, but not mind-blowing. They had a third independent album in 1993 called (quite appropriately) NOTHING LASTS FOREVER that passed most people by (including me) and then they broke up. Therefore, it is also very appropriate that, 23 years later, they called their comeback album BACK TO HAUNT and …(!) it is getting released one week before Halloween. Too perfect.
The legend behind ghosts, poltergeists and so on is that they are spirits trapped between the living world and the after-life, never changing. That is kind of appropriate the sound and style of BACK TO HAUNT. There really has been very little change. I don’t think the band was around long enough to develop a totally unique signature style. I’ve never heard a single Metal fan say, ‘That sounds just like Poltergeist” ! That is not to say that the band is poor, far from it, but they certainly are comfortable in the 80’s thrash template. Two original guys, the vocalist and guitarist (Grieder and Pulver respectively) have returned and they have three new guys to round out the band. The new Poltergeist album is fast n’ furious, not too adventurous, not too modern, just classic thrash. It is a whiplash head-banging good time for us old war-dogs. Even the production is warmer and older in style, than some of the super sterile thrash albums that are out there. I will concede that BACK TO HAUNT is not really original but I have a nostalgia for this kind of band and am so delighted to see them back and making a straight-up thrash album. The classic thrash drums beats, the barking gang vocals, some nice tempo changes and just catch riffs make this album a pretty prime example of thrash done right.
If you enjoy the recent work of Artillery, Assassin, Onslaught and all those mid-tier thrash bands that started back in the 80’s, then BACK TO HAUNT by Poltergeist will send shivers up and down your spine!