When I first heard Desolated’s debut full-length album ‘Verse Of Judas’, I honestly didn’t think much of it. As far as beatdown hardcore bands went, Desolated certainly held a unique perspective at the time; having progressed from a relatively generic deathcore band with ‘The Birth Of Corruption’ to an intriguing and entertaining mix of their current genre and their original with ‘The Sixth Day’; they had retained a significant ‘anti-religion’ aura about their music – both lyrically as well as within their song writing (‘Spirit & Serpent’ & ‘Psalm II’ most notably). But, I was never fully able to embrace any uniqueness about their music; repetitive sounding riffs, the lack of creativity in drums and vocals furthering my disappointment, despite the rabid fan base that the band had (and continue to) amass(ed). However, Disorder of Mind marks a rather dramatic movement away from these themes that have previously defined Desolated’s music and imagery; trading God for the mind and down-tempo for more aggravated dynamics to benefit their sound. The only question left is whether or not this delivers a satisfying and well-shaped release.
An interesting feature on the 5-track ‘full-length’ (I would liken it more to an EP) is that Desolated seem deeply intent on further merging their previous style of ‘The Sixth Day’ with their present attributes within ‘Verse Of Judas’. This is particularly prevalent with vocalist Paul Williams’ use of death growls on tracks ‘Suffering’ & ‘Delusions’ as well as the effort made on the instrumental side of things – resulting in breakdown-sounding sections harkening back to their 2011 days; see the final sections of ‘Suffering’ & ‘Strung Up’ for the most notable examples of this. On the whole, these influences are ultimately beneficial ones; making this release prominent and with welcome variety that Desolated have so desperately needed since ‘Verse Of Judas’. The hardcore aspects remain strong whilst some metal attributes enable instrumentation to develop further at a base level; the use of an opening side-to-side drum beat at a fast pace with double-bass blasting in ‘Year Of The Snake’, the snare blasts in ‘Delusions’ or simply the chord dynamics in ‘Death By My Side’ that add an extra punch to Disorder Of Mind.
The themes of the five tracks aren’t a huge step from their established sound of anti-religion, Paul still uses ‘Hell’ & ‘sin’ as liberally as he can; even when delving into the intense lyrical subject matter of depression and psychosis. Whilst he pulls it off well, it occasionally feels as though lyrics are lagging over into other songs – ‘The reaper’ is featured prominently in the lyrics as well as ‘walking in light’ and ‘in your eyes’, reminding me of ‘On The Cross’ from ‘Verse Of Judas’ & the eponymous track of ‘The Sixth Day’. Unfortunately, to an extent, it feels as though some recycling is taking place on the lyrical front as well as on the guitars’ contributions. ‘Suffering’ holding a riff in its middle verse that seems copied and pasted straight out of ‘Breathe’ from ‘Verse Of Judas’ as well as general vibes of the songs being altogether similar; following a down-tempo intro riff before breaking into a faster-paced ascending chord pattern verse before reaching the big beatdown finish outro. It breeds disappointment like an obscene badger. However, not every song is like this; ‘Delusions’ retaining a slow but catchy structure that remains memorable; even if songs like ‘Strung Up’ can be forgotten.
Disorder Of Mind offers a solid base for Desolated to build upon with these new and exciting influences that, despite their flawed sides; create the atmosphere of their genre excellently. Desolated are no Fallbrawl in the world of beatdown hardcore but are attempting to be individual, something that I admire greatly. Undeniably, there are relatively large sections of Disorder Of Mind that lose the listener due to their repetitiveness and monotony, but Desolated still achieve the goals of their peers; some moments purely grabbing the listener with their groovy beatdowns and driving the urge to mosh greatly (even if it sparks off the great ‘crowdkill’ debate). No doubt their live performances will retain their high-intensity, chaotic atmospheres; and these songs will fit right in with that mood.
And so, in summary: Desolated have built an alright looking house with Disorder Of Mind, with some nice features; but ask them what it’s made of and they’ll struggle to say.
1. Year Of The Snake
2. Death By My Side
4. Strung Up