ART BY ROB PRIOR 2021
There are so many synchronous events related to this song that I consider it a matter of destiny.
I was out of music completely when several fated moments brought me together with Nancy McCallum, Layne Staley’s mother. Though I had met her twice at the annual memorial concert held in August, it wasn’t until I accidentally cut her off in the ferry line heading to Whidbey Island that things got serious, like her nearly calling the cops on me. Not the best way to start a friendship, but that was the beginning nonetheless. We have been friends ever since.
She once opened up and revealed the pain and frustration she went through, trying to save her son, and the herculean effort it took to break through Layne's addiction. The empathy was very powerful. At one point, we were both collecting all the tribute songs written for Layne throughout the years. There were over a dozen at that time. I told her I wanted to do a song as well. It was unique in the way these lyrics came to life. I embraced my empathy for her and some of the history I knew about Layne. The result was one of the most painful lyrics I have ever written. I had to feel it to write it and I didn’t even have a melody.
A few days after I completed the lyrics, I went to Seattle to meet with Black Label Society as they were opening for Judas Priest and that was not a concert I was not about to miss. I was also developing a relationship with BLS, strangely enough, because I included one of their songs in my first novel. And that is where I met Canadian guitarist Sean Francis. We met at the meet & greet and start talking about music. When I found out he had been playing for years, I told him about the song. He said he had several pieces of music, but when he sent the music, it was song number one right out of the gate – like it was sitting there waiting to be married up to the lyrics.
Once we figured everything out he called me and asked if I would be interested in having JD from BLS play on the song. I said yes and while we were laying down other parts of the song, JD just sat down at a piano and starting playing a beautiful accompaniment. He was playing to the music coming out of headphones laying on top of the piano. He ended up playing both bass guitar and piano on the soulful tribute. This was the birth of The Haunted North.
A few years later, Sean and I both decided it would be cool to do an unplugged version of the song. We added newcomer Maria Rosa for an angelic backup vocal and shot the video about a year after that. When I saw the final cut of the video, I was really moved. I think we absolutely hit the mark. I love this song and yet it is a love wrapped in sadness.
Randy V ~ 06/04/21
"This is a riveting heavy metal track, with a compelling and dark riff, grim bassline, and progressive drum pattern. The vocals are cunning and clear, painting g a vivid narrative for the listeners through the crafty lyricism and flawless execution. All elements of the track work seamlessly together to create a mythical modern track, sure to capture the attention of thousands of listeners. This is a highly recommended track "
"An ocean of solos and raw instrumental chaos hits with a beautifully organized, hypnotic precision about it. Clarity and intimacy are replaced by this wall of fuzz-soaked power and volume. It’s a stunning way to develop the track, and it highlights yet again how much attention and care the band pays to the structuring and crafting of their songs. This kind of artistic, meaningful arrangement is sadly quite rare these days, but 21 Grams reignites those memories and their lasting impact with brilliant poignancy."
"As an introduction to the band, sometimes the live performance is the best way to go. In this case, the heavy guitar sound and the crash of the drums, meeting with this partly prog-rock vocal that meanders occasionally into Dave Grohl-like territory, meets with notably impressive, engaging songwriting, to win you over on both counts."
"The tracks on Monster aren’t the atonal modern machine metal heard so often now but are built on actual singing, fierce riffing, dynamics, and ripping pentatonic lead guitar. The lineup of vocalist Randy V, guitarist Sean Francis, bassist ‘JD’ DeServio, and drummer Jeff Fabb is an impressive unit with a vibe that bleeds authenticity and lets each musician’s personality and style be heard."
Randy V - Lead Vocals
Sean Francis - Lead Guitarist
Andrew Aubut - Drummer
Randy V - Lead Vocals
"Driving with the raw energy of classic hard rock, The Haunted North pour their souls into creating authentic, original, and intense rock anthems, and paving the way for a brand new era of indie.
Bringing together the talent and passion of front-man Randy V. and lead guitarist Sean Francis 2019 sees the band welcome in a fresh set of ears and equally impressive musicianship, with newly joining merciless bass-player Marty Rubin, and vicious drummer Andrew Aubut each being welcomed into the brotherhood."