Well, what a whirlwind first few months it’s been for me as a Sentinel Daily scribe – it only seems like yesterday I was taking my first baby steps as a writer and now here we are already looking forward to next year with our first new release of 2020 in the shape of Haunt’s newbie offering, Mind Freeze!

In broad terms, Mind Freeze takes over where last release If Icarus Could Fly left off… with a few minor differences. That being said, this does seem to be something of a landmark release for the band, and there’s an air of ‘the next step’ being taken here. Song writing is sharper – On The Stage, in particular, sees the band leaving behind their determinedly underground roots for something altogether more polished-sounding – although, of course, the overall sound is still rooted in the midst of NWoBHM myth n’magick.

Crucially – and rather strangely for an old fashioned, straight-up metal band – it’s the unobtrusive but telling use of synths that make the difference on Mind Freeze and turns the band from followers to leaders. They are everywhere (almost) but do their best work on Saviours of Man, where they give a weirdly new-wave tone to the track, kinda like old heart throbs Duran Duran or Spandau Ballet jamming with Angel Witch. It shouldn’t work, but it does, and if the band hone this approach a little more I could see it paying off big time for them. Night Demon are set for some serious competition!

Props are also heavily due to new guy guitarist John Tucker, who adds real firepower in the lead guitar department, but again the sense that this is an exciting new beginning for Haunt is that this sounds very much like a team effort rather than more of an album centred largely around leadinng light Trevor William Church as has often been the case in the past.

If more bands can hit the heights of Haunt in 2020, then it’s set to be a massive year for metal! What a way to start out!

Mind Freeze is released on January 10th 2020.