Fresno Beehive

Meet the Fresno musician helping to usher in a new wave of traditional heavy metal

Trevor William Church has spent the past five years collecting press clips and glowing reviews for his music — first with the Black Sabbath-inspired doom rock band Beastmaker and more recently with a throwback metal group called Haunt.

Revolver Magazine named Haunt one of five new wave of traditional heavy metal bands you need to know.

Rolling Stone called Church “one of the world’s most prolific, not to mention skillful, heavy-metal auteurs,” in a profile last month.

Decibel Magazine is planning a cover story for the release of Haunt’s next album, Church says while seated on a couch in a Tower District studio where the band is recording drums for its third album, which is slated to be released in January.

“This is going to be the next plateau,” Church says.

And yet, the band has flown mostly under the radar in Fresno, where Church has lived and played music for the past 15 years.

“I feel like Fresno doesn’t even have a clue about what we’re doing,” says Church, though the band plays evangelist when it can.

Like Friday night, when Haunt will host a rare local record release with Fortress, Void Vator and Crushing the Deceiver.

The show then plays Sunday night at the Blue Lamp in Sacramento.

“We’re trying to just spread the gospel here,” Church says.

Trevor Church, local guitarist/vocalist and prolific songwriter with the metal band Haunt, photographed outside the Studio 9 rehearsal studios in Fresno on Monday, June 11, 2019. CRAIG KOHLRUSS

The sound

Church comes from rock-star stock. He’s the son of bassist Bill “Electric” Church, who played in ’70s rock band Montrose and later, more famously perhaps, with Sammy Hagar and also Van Morrison. Before Haunt, Church had a stint collaborating with Hagar’s son, Andrew, in a project called Hagen Alter.

With Haunt, Church channels ’80s-era British heavy metal. He describes it as Iron Maiden meets Ozzy Osbourne.

Only in this case, Ozzy also happens to also be a massive guitar shredder.

While Church has pulled together a powerhouse lineup of local musicians — including longtime collaborator and guitarist John Tucker, bassist Taylor Hollman and Daniel Wilson — Haunt is very much his brain child.

He writes, plays and records everything in pre-production. It then gets re-recorded with the band.

“It’s not all that collaborative until it’s time to get stuff done,” Church says.

And he’s fairly prolific. In two years with Haunt, Church has released two full-length albums and two EPs. In that time, he also released a full 10 EPs as Beastmaker, through the music site Bandcamp.

“I make a living on Bandcamp right now,” he says.

His advice to aspiring musicians: “Keep writing songs until you find something that connects with people.”

It’s about time

Haunt was originally just a side project, but the response was overwhelming and immediate. The reason it even exists as a band is because the “Luminous Eyes” EP got picked up as the album of the week by a music blog in Scandinavia, Church says.

The band had a debut album done and out before it even played its first show.

It did help that Church had already had success with Beastmaker. That band had the backing of a record label that was well known in the metal scene and helped get them slots as support acts on national tours (with Zakk Sabbath for example) and on mega festivals like the Roadburn Festival in the Netherlands.

The difference with Haunt is that the band came along just as the trend of neo-traditional metal was catching on in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. Haunt was on the cutting edge of those scenes.

Says Church, “It’s more about timing than anything.”


8 p.m. Friday

Strummer’s, 833 E. Fern Ave.



Other noteworthy events

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, 8 p.m. Saturday. Tower Theatre, 815 E. Olive Ave. $55-$69. 559-485-9050,

DJ Quik, 7 p.m. Saturday. The Wakehouse, 850 N. Kings Rover Road, Reedley. $20.

Hello Kitty Cafe Truck, 10 a.m. Saturday. Fashion Fair Mall, in the Outdoor Village by Michael Kors. @HelloKittyCafeTruck on Facebook

Lowriders de Fresno weekend, noon Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday. Chukchansi Park. $10-$55 for baseball game.

Father’s Day BBQ block party, 11 a.m. Tioga Sequoia Brewing Company, 745 Fulton St. Free. All ages. 559-486-2337,

Rebelution, 5 p.m. June 19. Rotary Amphitheater at Woodward Park. $39.40. All ages.

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Joshua Tehee covers breaking news for The Fresno Bee, with a focus on entertainment and a heavy emphasis on the Central Valley music scene. You can see him share the area’s top entertainment options Friday mornings on KMPH’s “Great Day” and read more of his work here.