Driving music, powerful vocals, and mind-altering hooks of The Haunted North (THN) merge in the band’s debut release, Monster. Damien vocalist Randy V and Sean Francis, along with John ‘JD’ DeServio and Jeff Fabb from Black Label Society, create groove rock that is as fresh as it is familiar.
Monster has the impact of a steamroller… straightforward, raw, with no pretense. It incites a marching sensation you’re compelled to give in to and the haunting lyrics match the name of the project. The memorials, “Body & Soul” and “Without a Dawn” are moving and moody. The opening track Mojave Moon originated from hallucinations induced by hours of blistering heat as Randy rode his Indian motorcycle across the Mojave Desert in the middle of July. With the moon in front of him and the burning sun behind, he reached a moment of real connection with life and death. The other songs, seething with attitude about determining one’s fate, challenging religious dogma, battling with codependency, and deciding how one lives and dies… are all in your face and undeniable.
THN single Body & Soul (2015) came about because of a fated meeting between Randy and the mother of Layne Staley, the deceased famed singer of Alice In Chains. Her story inspired Randy to write tribute lyrics. Shortly after that, he and Canadian guitarist Sean Francis met at a Black Label Society concert in Seattle. Randy mentioned he was looking for music for the song and the two were off and running.
After “Body & Soul”, Sean asked Black Label society’s bassist John ‘JD’ DeServio and drummer Jeff Fabb to lay down tracks for Monster. They agreed and Randy and Sean began writing in February of 2017. Sean sums up the project, “The winds of fate were working their magic when a small-town Canadian kid and an American bad ass singer happened to be at the same place, at the same time, with the same ideas and wanting the same things to happen. Both fans of BLS, we met at one of their shows and after establishing an easy friendship, we were ready to ignite some sonic dynamite. I’ve had the time of my life with good friends making the album I’ve always wanted to hear and now it’s time to unleash it upon the world!”
The honesty of THN’s overall concept “to simply be” is clearly heard on Monster and Randy relates, “We are far beyond the need to prove ourselves to anyone. These songs are raw, honest, hard-hitting, and undeniably relevant. Sean has written some truly great riffs and it’s been an honor working with JD and Jeff. They are exceptional.”
The Haunted North stands out because in a world where it’s all been done before, these men maintain their identities. That rare, pure authenticity is at the heart of their music.