December 13, 2019

Trevor Church (Haunt’s leader and frontman/guitar player) is one busy man. For a period of two and a half years, his band Haunt has already (including this forthcoming album on January 10th) released three full-length albums, two EPs, one single and two split singles. When you obviously love what you do, this is not as striking as it seems. Trevor has often expressed his desire to bring the fans much closer to the process of creating new material, even sharing (already!) live-stream videos from his home studio with raw tracks from the album to come after Mind Freeze. How cool is that?

Mind Freeze was recorded with a half-new line-up (apart from Trevor and drummer “Wolfy”), introducing bassist Taylor Hollman and John Tucker (also in Hysteria and Beastmaker) on guitars. Light The Beacon starts with the mid-tempo, crunchy guitar riffs we love so much about Haunt with all the attitude and vigor they are capable of. Second song Hearts On Fire, however, brings the first big surprise – synths!! Yes, synths. Don’t worry though, Haunt are not intending to support Depeche Mode anytime soon, so here, instead, we are talking of a very successful attempt to introduce a fresh touch to the band’s sound. Trevor told me that he has experimented with composing some of the basic melodies for the new songs that way, so later, it came out as a natural decision to include some synths in the final recordings. Sometimes (as in Hearts On Fire and the title track) they are brought more to the front, and in other songs, such as Fight Or Flight or On The Stage, they are almost inaudible or not present at all.

Divide And Conquer is also one of the best synth-influenced tracks in the album, very melodic and very aggressive at the same time. I am once again impressed at Haunt’s ability to keep things interesting with every new release and consciously aiming to avoid a routine. There clearly is a development not only in the band’s musicality since the debut Luminous Eyes EP but also a growth and success in creating an individuality and a sound that is unmistakably theirs. I cannot tell (yet) if Mind Freeze is better than this year’s If Icarus Could Fly. What I can tell you is it is different and it is great. Don’t miss it when it comes out in less than a month and watch out for Haunt in 2020 and beyond.

8,5/10

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