I will never forget when an old friend relayed to me that people who listen to metal music, or “screamo” as so many of my classmates erroneously referred to it as around that time, are generally better-equipped to handle emotional issues. When he went on to say that those listening to country music on a regular basis had higher rates of substance abuse and suicidal actions, I wasn’t sure whether to believe him on that one, but the science, as it turns out, is out there to support all of this. Is this a one-to-one, if a then b statement? Far from it, but it does paint a picture for this release.
Tom Reynolds, formerly of Love Lies in Ashes and currently of Nagasaki Birth Defect, took the name of his one-man band Foul Body Autopsy from a Necrophagist track, and over the past decade has released a number of EPs and two full-length albums under this moniker. His brand of melodic death/thrash metal is less gruesome and flashy, instead leaning more towards message than manifesto. With his latest release, Consumed by Black Thoughts, Reynolds brings five tracks together for the purpose of exploring mental health, a topic that is more important than ever in the age of Pandemia.
If one had to split hairs and fit this record firmly into a subgenre, it could probably most successfully be classified as melodic death metal, and no track better hits on this than “My Liberation with Death.” Even with the characteristic triplets and assorted death metal shenanigans, it keeps that listenability and smoothness to it. “Like a Phantom to the Heart” hits on the subject of anxiety, with dueling vocal lines echoing the voices in one's head, the ones that like to work against an anxious mind in what seem to be the worst possible moments.
In five tracks, there isn’t a weak one in the bunch, but if I had to pick a favorite, it would be the opener “Vicious Cycles (Feeding Off Themselves).” It builds up from a more traditional metal beginning, and plays out smooth and is rather accessible. That said, the full EP is well worth a listen, as I found myself grooving in my chair, headbanging along and enjoying what I was hearing. If ever you have a peer bitching and quetsching about metal being depressing or “emo,” show them this EP, send them on their way, then have them apologize when they get back to you. Odds are, as good as this record is, they will be lamenting their previous remarks.
Consumed by Black Thoughts is available now.