If sound could cause epileptic seizures, this would be the sound to do it.
Disease of The Mind is Staytus’s debut album, and Staytus is the Industrial Metal fresh face of Sam Grundemann. Hailing from Scottsdale, Grundemann’s approach is an incredibly unique one that borrows from a multitude of sources, old and new. With roots firmly planted in a harsh, industrial sound, that’s heavy and unrelenting, the sound also touches ground with Goth and Grunge rock. It’s a sound she describes proudly as Nu-Goth, and it’s something you have to experience to fully understand.
Disease of The Mind is definitely not suitable for all audiences, for a plethora of reasons, and chief among them is just the fact that it is properly brutal. At points, the line between the intentionally destructive and the plain bad performances gets seriously blurry. Not once during the 47 minutes runtime have I been able to outright point out a single line that’s incorrectly delivered. It’s either an affair of dense and intentional dissonance, or sheer, unbridled luck. I lean more towards the former.
The songs here are all intense. Harrowing and pounding soundscapes are the pervasive norm on the 13 songs that reside within the sphere of this release, and it’s a positive that must be taken into account. the cohesive nature of the sound is well adorned with original ideas, creating a sound that’s solid and consistent, yet exciting and adventurous. All aspects have been written, performed, and engineered by Staytus. In her words, it’s a journey that delves deep into the mind of a person who struggles with mental illness, and it shows through the abstract and the direct lyricisms on every song.
From the highlights, Absolute Terror features a heavy, pounding beat and a foreboding composition as a backing for Grundemann’s pained howls. The choruses are catchy and noisy. An Echo in Space borrows a weird page from U2’s Mysterious Ways. A mostly ambient and puffy atmosphere that gets repetitively disrupted by dissonance in the singing and the composition. It’s one of the catchier songs on here. Arrythmia is one the heaviest songs on here. Primarily based on feral wails from Grundemann and a clunky percussion that opens up on a very memorable, airy chorus. It is catchy, solid, yet relentless. One of the heaviest for sure. Crawling features some conventional(?) drum sounds at last. Minus the immense compression at least. But don’t think for a moment that the sound has softened up, as this song has some of the harshest and most viscous (not viscious) guitar sounds. It’s a sound akin to a bed of nails. Dreams from Hell has one of the grooviest beats. A rave-ready sound that’s wide, bizarre, and very catchy. The reliable guttural wails show up here too, not letting us down.
Disease of The Mind is an intense, brutal journey into a mind that’s ravaged by… well… mind diseases. It’s not for the faint of heart, or ears. A listen that requires patience and perseverance, and a payoff that requires a deeper look within. A hit or miss, Staytus’s debut features a polarizing sound that will leave you thirsting for more, or will see you give up on it a few seconds in.