Prepare to get your groove on with the superbly engaging sound of The Haunted North, who fuse raw, powerful vocals with big riffing, face-melting guitar solos and vicious driving rhythms.
The band, formed of frontman Randy V, guitarist Sean Francis, bassist Marty Rubin and drummer Andrew Aubut, released debut album Monster last year, which is chocked full of delicious groove metal goodness. The band also started out saw Black Label Society’s John ‘JD’ Deservio and Jeff Faab on bass and drums, which tells you a bit about what to expect from them.
They sent us latest single Medusa, which was released last month, to get a feel for the band. It opens up with light Eastern drums then a chugging riff and building drums that drop into an intense opening verse. That builds up to a chorus of huge cries of “Medusa, I’m not afraid, Medusa, I’ve already paid.”
A laid-back guitar lick segues into a second verse led by Randy’s engaging vocals and another big chorus over a chugging riff. A little spinning bassline takes over and leads us into a cool little Eastern section, which develops into a big guitar solo that feeds into a final blast of the chorus supported by bursts of noodling guitar. It’s a superb sound, and you can give it a listen here:
We also love the sound of Monster, from last year’s album of the same name. It features a delicious chugging guitar riff supporting Randy’s raw vocals, which eventually drops into a cool guitar solo. Give it a listen here:
And the album is packed full of groovy metal tracks, including the powerful Mojave Moon, the lively Rise, and the seriously cool Burnin’ Whiskey, which you can check out here:
We had a chat with Sean Francis, the lead guitarist and music composer, to find out more about the band. Read on below…
GR: Who are The Haunted North?
SF: “Randy and I started the whole thing. Randy is from Whidbey Island In Washington state and I am from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. We met at a Black Label Society show in Seattle in… 2012 I wanna say? Anyways, I was there with the Black Label Society crowd because I’m friends with the band. Randy showed up super early for a Meet & Greet… and we hit it off. We went for supper afterwards and kept in touch. A few months later, Randy texted me to see if I wrote music. I said ‘Ya! Lol.’ He told me what he was looking for and I sent him a clip and he was knocked out! And that was for our first collaboration Body & Soul. We called ourselves Laws Of Fate initially for that release.
“Fast forward a few years later and I’m bugging Randy to do some more music but he’s totally on the fence! He kind of was interested but he was busy. So I said: ‘How about if we get Jeff Faab and John JD Deservio involved?” He says – ‘Ya?’ I said ‘Hell Ya!’ I talked to them and they were all in after they heard what we had written. So for our Monster album (2019), The line-up was Randy, Jeff, JD, and myself. Our live release L.I.T. (Live In Toledo) was with them as well. Then things got busy with Black Label Society as it should, and Randy and I recruited two new musicians. Andrew, the absolute Drum Destroying Beast and Kansas City Bassaholic Marty Rubin. Both are awesome people and artists.”
GR: You just released Medusa, what should people be expecting from it?
SF: “Musically, the main riff literally dropped out of the sky and was completely NOT premeditated at all. The breakdown riff- different story. I was thinking of two specific songs that I really wanted to ‘steal the feel’ of by Dream Theater and Pantera. It took me a couple of weeks to figure it out! And the solo was a little Johnny Winter mixed with some Ace Frehley and a dash of me!”
GR: How would you describe The Haunted North sound?
S: “GROOVE METAL CITY BABY!!!! With choruses, you can sing to. I actually always call it heavy rock. Modern classic rock! All of the above!”
GR: What influences you to write music?
S: “I’m influenced to write music just cuz I kind of have to. It’s not really a choice per se, as much is something I have to do. And I’m always looking for something that almost forces you to move. I write music that almost dares you to NOT participate!”
GR: Which bands/artists are/have been your biggest influences?
S: “My strongest influences are BLS, Van Halen, Kiss, Pantera, Black Sabbath, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Poison, Metallica, Shooter Jennings, Cinderella, Warren Haynes, Allman brothers, Ozzy, the list goes on forever…”
GR: What have you got coming up?
S: “Well we have more music coming! The plan is to continue to record and release music steadily for the next year and then put it all together once we have enough new material out there and then it will all be our “2nd” album. Like every other band during these times, we are waiting to see how things go next year cuz we are DYING TO GET OUT AND PLAY! Seriously, we can’t wait to come to a stage near you and BURN IT DOWN with our ROCK POWERS! It’s gonna be worth the wait once we get out I can tell you. This is a VERY powerful band with a drummer that can rival anyone anywhere (I said it), a bass player who just started to tap into his potential, a singer whose voice only gets stronger and more expressive with age, and a guitar player (me!) who basically goes out there to play his ass off and run around so much he makes Dee Snider look like he’s sleeping!”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about The Haunted North / your music?
SF: “I would just like to add that we can’t wait to get more music to everyone and stay strong, believe in us because we are gonna do everything we can for you as soon as we are able! Thank you sooooooo much for talking to me. Take care!”