BravePicks 2020 - HAUNT's Mind Freeze #13

December 19, 2020, 3 years ago

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BravePicks 2020 - HAUNT's Mind Freeze #13

If there was any year that music was a true saviour, it was 2020. The ultimate diversion, as the world sits in virtual stagnation waiting anxiously for a fix. We will keep it brief here with the COVID commentary. Let’s let the music speak for itself. It is time to unveil our annual BravePicks countdown, where the devout scribes at BraveWords cast their votes at the hits and misses of the year! So who will be our #1? You’ll find out as we count down the BravePick Of 2020 each day in December! 

Everybody has an opinion and it’s time for ours! And stay tuned in January for the writers’ individual Top 20s (new studio albums ONLY), Top 5 Brave Embarrassments (a fan favorite!), What/Who Needs To Stop In 2021? and Metal Predictions For 2021. Sadly no concerts. But all will be showcased come the New Year!

This virus can go to hell! Let’s let the Top 30 releases of 2020 rock your world!

BravePicks 2020

13) HAUNT - Mind Freeze (Shadow Kingdom)

Heavy metal heroes Haunt wasted no time building off the momentum of 2019’s If Icarus Could Fly with 2020 opus Mind Freeze. Taking a wintry, frigid theme, the California act led by Trevor Church added some new elements into their sound, including some synth work and structures that could pass as power metal. 

Haunt continues to excel with diligent riff work and Church’s desperate vocal delivery has improved considerably. They work at such an immaculate pace that another full-length, Flashback, was dropped during the summer. Flashback is no slouch either, but Mind Freeze stands as a hallmark of traditional metal and should immediately be in any trad metal fan’s collection.

Scribe Nick Balazs praised Mind Freeze in his review: Church also seems much more comfortable as a singer and uses adept melody that leads to some enriching vocal moments. While that traditional metal element is still strongly on display, there is some gravitations toward power metal as well, like on the surging “Divide And Conquer” (with an incredible tempo change in the middle) and the speeding and fist-thrusting “Hearts On Fire” (although it’s hard not to think of the HammerFall song when listening to this). The most impressive part of Haunt though is developing sturdy, melodic, memorable guitar parts and the guitar tandem of Church and John Tucker is a marvel to listen to. There has always been a melancholic vibe to Haunt, and this is in due part to the desperate vocals of Church, but there is this sense of heroism and wonder and this is enveloped in opener “Light The Beacon”, which shows a glimmer of hope with tributes to those that have fallen, and also “On The Stage”, a song that says exactly what it is, an ode to performing on the stage and bringing joy to the metal masses.

BravePicks 2020 Top 30

13) HAUNT - Mind Freeze (Shadow Kingdom)
14) ANAAL NATHRAKH - Endarkenment
15) AC/DC - PWRϟUP (Columbia/Sony)
16) BENEDICTION - Scriptures (Nuclear Blast)
17) KATAKLYSM - Unconquered (Nuclear Blast)
18) BLACKGUARD - Storm (Independent)
19) MEXICAN APE-LORD - Survival Cannibalism (Unable)
20) THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER - Verminous (Metal Blade)
21) ENSIFERUM - Thalassic (Metal Blade)
22) PROTEST THE HERO - Palimpsest (Spinefarm)
23) SODOM - Genesis XIX (Steamhammer)
24) INCANTATION - Sect Of Vile Divinities (Relapse)
25) MIDNIGHT - Rebirth By Blasphemy (Metal Blade)
26) NAGLFAR - Cerecloth (Century Media)
27) RAVEN - Metal City (SPV/Steamhammer)
28) KIRK WINDSTEIN - Dream In Motion (Entertainment One)
29) VANDEN PLAS - The Ghost Xperiment: Illumination (Frontiers)
30) GREEN CARNATION - Leaves of Yesteryear (Season of Mist)

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