Monday 16 December 2019

HAUNT - Mind Freeze (Album Review)

Release date: January 5th 2019. Label: Shadow Kingdom Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Mind Freeze – Tracklisting

1.Light The Beacon
2.Hearts On Fire
3.Mind Freeze
4.Divide And Conquer
5.Saviors Of Man
6.Fight Or Flight
7.Have No Fear
8.On The Stage


Trevor William Church : Vocals, Guitar
John Tucker : Lead Guitar
Taylor Hollman : Bass
Daniel Wilson : Drums


Southern California’s Beastmaker was one of my absolute favorite bands over the last couple of years. So, I was supremely disappointed when main man Trevor Church dissolved the occult loving, Sabbath worshipping monsters around a year ago to focus his attention on his newest project, Haunt. For those unfamiliar, Haunt delves more into the NWOBHM feel and 80’s metal sound. Definitely more of a Dio era Sabbath vs. Ozzy era, which typically isn’t my cup of tea, but I have to be completely honest, Haunt kills it, like nobody’s business!

Mind Freeze is the band’s 3rd full length (2nd in almost a year) along with a couple of EP's and split singles as well. To say Church and his cohorts are prolific, may be the understatement of the year. Hot on the heels of 2018’s If Icarus Could Fly, Mind Freeze shows the band really flexing their musical chops and diving head-first into the 80’s metal feel. The most obvious addition to this record from the previous is the inclusion and consistent use of the synthesizer, which Haunt uses flawlessly. While I mentioned previously the more similarity to Dio era Sabbath, Mind Freeze may actually owe more to solo era Ozzy than the former, perhaps due to Church’s vocal similarity to the Ozzman.

The album opens with the big synth intro and amazingly catchy and harmonic, Light the Beacon, an homage to all of those that are gone and keeping their spirits alive. Hearts on Fire explodes out of the gate with breakneck drums and a superfast tempo that carries more killer harmonies and mind melting solos. 

The title track follows, Mind Freeze, a rhythmic mid tempo rocker that, maybe because of the synth line, reminds me of Ozzy’s Shot in the Dark. The title track is a killer classic. Synths, double kick drums, and big riffs bring on Divide & Conquer. A pummelling track that also offers a big synth lead breakdown and one of the biggest solos around. An apocalyptic feel permeates the very 80’s metal sound of Saviours of Man, with a double lead guitar and bouncy synth line, this one delivers. 

The band brings the breakneck tempo back with some amazing guitar work and whiplash drumming on the stellar Fight or Flight. Yet another killer track. The tempo slows, but only momentarily, as the synths and a mighty riff open Have No Fear. With a thumping drive and shouted chorus, there is a welcome bit of Maiden showing on this one. On the Stage follows with a big, guitar heavy intro and more driving rhythm. Voyager closes the record as a cosmic fuelled journey with a big drum and synth intro that turns to a high octane trip to somewhere beyond the stars

While I will miss my beloved Beastmaker, Haunt brings the perfect amount of heavy riffage to ease the pain and fill the void. Mind Freeze is a tremendous record and a big step for Church and Haunt. The band seems poised to take their place in the front and lead the charge for Heavy Metal in the new decade! Dig on this!

Todd S - Instagram @alltheghoststhathauntyou

Words by Todd Stealey

Mind Freeze will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Shadow Kingdom Records from Jan 5th 2020


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