Receiving the Evcharist is our weekly feature where we pair choice albums with our favorite libations. Drink from the cup of heresy. This week’s offering: Haunt’s Mind Freeze and Modern Times Brewing Company’s Octagon City.
The Tunes: Haunt’s Mind Freeze
In doing my research for this review, I found out that Fresno, CA’s Haunt put out FOUR releases last year, and not just the two that I was already aware of. And why would they stop there? Today sees the release of Mind Freeze, the band’s third full-length album since August of 2018, and if you thought their prolific release schedule meant the songs here would be half-assed, you’re dead wrong. The thrashy riffs of songs like “Hearts on Fire” and “Fight or Flight” are blood-pumping, and showcase the powerhouse talent of the band’s rhythm section as much as they do the band’s twin-guitar attack. Yet if we’re talking about trad metal, the guitar is the heart and soul of the music, and it’s in the use of anthemic guitar harmonies (“Saviours of Man”), as well as the unbelievable solos that litter the songs on Mind Freeze, that set Haunt above their peers. Not since Tomb Mold have I encountered a band this adept at both quantity and quality; to mine the vein of old-school heavy metal and hard rock with the sincerity necessary to avoid the trappings of nostalgia is a tough balancing act, yet Haunt bridge that gap with a skill rarely seen. You can imagine the members of the band in the early Eighties alongside the best rock and roll acts of the day as easily as you can imagine them selling out clubs in your local area today, and make no mistake, this is a band poised to play to some packed rooms soon. I’d bet on it.
The Booze: Modern Times Brewing Company’s Octagon City
Only Modern Times could get me to reverse my ‘No Tropical Fruit, Not Ever’ stance on fruited beers. Octagon City is a Berliner Weisse style beer brewed with raspberry and…guava? Even I was skeptical of this one, and I’m rarely skeptical of anything Modern Times does. Lo and behold, however, this thing is actually really good. Guava has quite an odd flavor, in my opinion, like a generic tropical fruit flavor with a combination of mango and kiwi and with a funky aftertaste. Pairing this back with the sweetness and tartness of raspberries was a smart move that ups the good notes from the guava and minimizes the ones that might be more off-putting. You still get a little bit of weirdness in the finish but it’s subtle enough to lend an interesting character that makes you want to keep sipping. I say this a lot but Modern Times is head and shoulders my favorite brewery and this beer is a perfect example of why.
Cheers, and be good to each other,