“We get told to put on a brave face, but sometimes the bravest thing to do is take the face off.”
I spotted this quote two years ago and it has stuck with me ever since. It’s World Mental Health Day today and during these uncertain times, it is more important than ever to keep the discussion of mental illness flowing and help your loved ones realise they aren’t alone.
For World Mental Health Day, FOUL BODY AUTOPSY (a.k.a Tom Reynolds) has released his latest EP Consumed By Black Thoughts that looks at his own experiences of fighting mental illness. It’s a brutal, honest and poignant EP that is cleverly placed together. It contains finger-blistering riffs, carefully researched samples from psychological interviews, guttural vocal work and thrashing drums. Amongst it all is uncomfortable truths about living with mental illness within the strong lyrical content.
It doesn’t mess around; it gets straight to point with opening track Vicious Cycles (Feeding Off Themselves). From the moment you press play, you are sucked in. The music intelligently reflects emptiness and numbness, these are common feelings you experience when you are in a daily battle with your mind. This abruptly leads on to raw distortion and dominant growls that in my mind represents the ugly side of fighting mental illness. When you scratch the surface of this chaos, there are poignant lyrics such as “I can’t live like this, I must break the cycle” which I am sure lots of people living with ill mental health can relate to.
Like A Phantom Of The Heart is bit more melodic than the previous track. This one contains fragility, ironic given it’s a death metal track but with this subject matter in mind, this technique works. This sense of fragility allows us to hear lyrics such as “Like A Phantom Of The Heart, that will tear your soul apart“. This lyric particularly hit home, it’s a fantastic depiction of what fighting mental illness feels like. This is represented further in the brutal sounding verses and fragile choruses.
The title My Liberation In Death is haunting, it makes me think of those who either lost their life to mental illness or have attempted to take their own life. This track is gut wrenching, there is no other way to describe. The delicate soundings riffs capture the feeling of numbness yet feeling free fantastically. You even start to feel this when listening to this, that’s how well this track is done. The brutal parts in my mind represent what is going on in your head on a bad day with your mental health.
I wouldn’t normally describe Death Metal as radio friendly, well not on most mainstream radio anyway. If I were to introduce Death Metal to someone brand new, the title track would be the one I would go for. I think it’s mostly melodic, which isn’t a bad thing as the same amount of unforgiving impact from the prevailing growls and riffs still remain. It will also give this listener a chance to hear a brutal but more honest look into mental illness.
It ends with Trapped In The Shadow Of Fear and like Liberation In Death, the title alone is haunting and hits home. Having lived with anxiety for a long time now, this is most days for me. In my mind, the brutal parts are those negative voices holding you back and stopping you. The melodic riffs represent those glimpses of hope and overcoming this fear.
Consumed By Black Thoughts grabs us and throws us into a battle field, one that those with mental illness have to face everyday and it’s done brilliantly well. Recommended for fans of AT THE GATES and DARK TRANQUILTY.
Words: Lotty Whittingham
Consumed By Black Thoughts is out now.
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