The furious pace at which Trevor William Church has worked in recent years should be commended. His work with Beastmaker was certainly strong over the same period, but his work with Haunt is where he has received the most acclaim.
In 2018 they released their debut Burst Into Flame, followed up by 2019’s If Icarus Could Fly (which ended up on several year end lists, including this writer’s number one spot) and with 2020 upon us we have Mind Freeze. These albums all fit the mold of the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal (NWOTHM) which Haunt are clearly near the top of said list that would also include Eternal Champion, Visigoth and Night Demon to name a few.
With a stronger emphasis by the band on the synth front, this album really leans more heavily towards the embrace that these guys are a fringe power metal outfit, in the best way possible. Things start a bit slow with “Light The Beacon,” slowly building steam for some of the album’s true scorchers, giving the listener a cold open as it were. The synthesizers are fully realized as you hit “Hearts on Fire” and on the title track. The sounds of guitars swirl within these synths and the pounding drums of Wolfy Wilson which are high in the mix, sounding more like a bomb brigade than a typical battery.
The speed varies over the rest of the album from the frenetic flamethrowers to the songs like “Have No Fear” which are great examples of how Church’s vocals have continued to improve over the course of these past few years. Haunt’s body of work essentially speaks for itself at this point, they play fast, furious, speedy heavy metal that if teeming with melody and lyrics that would appeal to the most stalwart power metal fan. With continued crossover appeal, Mind Freeze may yet be another feather in a plumage laden hat.
(released January 10, 2020 on Shadow Kingdom Records)
Heavy Music Headquarters Rating
Watch Haunt – “Mind Freeze” Video