Desolated – Disorder of Mind EP (2013)


Some people are naturally happy when surrounded by others – they find solace and sanguinity in company; not necessarily with friends, but just with people. Others…well, not so much. There are those who are only truly themselves when they’re alone and simply cannot stand being caught in the hustle and bustle of every day life. These are the extraverts and introverts who make up society – and bizarre things can happen when one is placed in the other’s optimal habitat for too long. It might start as anger, irritation, bitterness, and aggravation, but transgress into full-blown misanthropy and disgust. In a word: madness. Madness can also be used to describe the latest EP by Southampton’s Desolated, titled Disorder of Mind. Packed with intense vocal attacks and hair-pulling dissonance, Disorder of Mind has all the elements it takes for even the most docile listener to see red and lose their mind.

Desolated’s unique combination of hard-hitting, punchy beatdown hardcore and down-tempo, chug-laden heaviness provide a special blend of instrumentation which keeps the listener constantly engaged. “Strung Up,” for example, featured pounding, blood-pumping percussion which keeps time with the steady thudding of the listener’s heart – that is, until the tempo shifts and deep, groovy chugs erupt from the chest of what was a thrashy, hardcore-styled riff. “Suffering” follows a similar track, as well as “Death by My Side.” Truth be told, the instrumentation throughout the entire EP is diverse and intriguing. It has enough of a heavy and metallic feel to attract fans of death metal, deathcore, and slam alike, while maintaining a veritable and original hardcore feel to it. By combining pounding, intense drums and visceral, throat-ripping breakdowns, Disorder of Mind is a perfectly arranged and dynamic attack of various musical styles which attract an entire array of listeners from all sorts of musical backgrounds.

Alongside the aggressive and unstoppable instrumentation roll the vocals, which can be described as nothing short of angry. Desolated constantly bombard the listener with an entrancing, enraging and mentally intrusive mid-range half-yell, half-scream which makes the listener see red. “Death by My Side” opens with an instrumental assault which fades into a one-two punch-style sock to the face with a vocal kick to the gut. This, in a sense, is part of Disorder of Mind’s use of vocals which makes the release so unique. While the tooth-grinding aggravation and hair-pulling madness, which the vocals provide, is effective, it is far from show stealing. There are plenty of times where the vocals know their place and fade into the background to allow the fast-paced, nose-breaking and lip-splitting instrumentation to wreak its own special sort of havoc. The beginning of “Delusions” toggles between subtle instrumentation mixed with dominating vocals and aggressive instrumentation with little to no vocal influence several times before reaching a level-headed equilibrium state which draws a stunning close to the album.

It’s the sort of balance found at the end of “Delusions” which points out the only slight shortcomings in Desolated’s otherwise brilliant EP. First and foremost, Disorder of Mind is a somewhat too-brief collection of enraging, hate-filled and autophobic anthems. It seems as if Disorder of Mind was just beginning to run off the tracks by the time the last note of “Delusions” rings and the EP is over. This problem, however, is trivial, as the listener can all too easily hit the “repeat” switch on their music player, and before they know it, are plunged back into Desolated’s world of immersive self-loathing. The more prominent issue with Disorder of Mind comes with its intensity. While “Suffering,” “Year of the Snake” and “Death by My Side” provide a perfect balance of the band’s hardcore vocal style and metallic, unique instrumentation, the latter parts of the EP seem to force the two elements together without as much thought. “Delusions” begins strongly, but seems to lapse into a state of mildly haphazard shouting which doesn’t quite fit with the organized chaos of the drums and guitar. Again, this flaw is, at worst, menial, as it mirrors the true feeling of insanity which described the song’s (and EP’s) protagonist. The disorder and insanity behind the conclusion of Desolated’s EP may truly be where the release gets its title, Disorder of Mind.

Desolated invite you to truly embrace insanity and lose your mind with Disorder of Mind, a collection of songs which put you right between the bull’s horns. After thirty seconds of the EP’s pulsing, heavy drumming and gut busting, spine-shrinking heaviness, you’ll be seeing red to the point where the only thing which will clear your head is blood and death – whether it’s yours or your enemy’s is a secondary concern.