Spreading the Disease – Mindcell EP
Release Date: 11/04/2019
Running Time: 24:38
Review by Paul Monkhouse
Kent metallers Spreading The Disease have been pushing envelopes since first forming at the end of 2014 with their own unique blend of in your face aggression counterbalanced by real hooks. Their latest release is another progression and shows them stretching themselves as they delve deep into the dark world of mental health, spawning five thematically linked tracks that manage to convey more in five songs and 25 minutes than most bands do in a decade.
It’s really a case of put the EP on, sit back and be prepared to be torn apart as not only is it a devastating sonic attack but an emotional one too with lyrics that seem to peer into lost souls and convey all that this, at time of writing, Mental Health Awareness Week speaks about. It is both cathartic and consuming.
The blistering ‘Obsession’ opens with a sledgehammer intensity, the guitars and drums brutal and the vocals screamed. As this slips into the melodic section, the lyrics asking “Am I all that you want me to be / or should I just go in for myself, break my chains and be free?” perfectly mirror the conflict between despair and determination. Later in the song there is a very telling line that points at social media, exposing the dangers of living your life through the fragile medium of how many ‘likes’ you get for a post and how other people’s approval matters much more than it should. Whilst all this is going on the music is nothing less than truly face melting and fierce.
We go further into the psychological as the discordant notes and unsettling whispers at the start of ‘Voices’ give way to some gentle singing before tearing into tormented screams. This really is a rollercoaster ride as the track jumps between full on metal and great melodic passages, once more illustrating the theme of split personalities in the song. Swirling rhythms build beautifully amongst the grinding guitars and epic, fast-paced drums. ‘The Anger Inside’ starts with a siren as a riff like a rampaging gorilla absolutely tears out of the speakers. The twisted reference to The Sound of Music classic ‘Favourite Things’ is a great touch and the song seethes and boils over with a barely under control aggression.
Following that is album highlight, ‘Waves’, the most melodic and hopeful track of the release. With its mix of screams and ringing guitar patterns it has a real punch whilst also melodically and lyrically uplifting, the lines ‘The path will be long / but I’ll find a way’ the brightest moment on the EP. There is a latter heavy passage that recalls some of the work by The Big 4 and the whole track is full of textures and layers. Last song ‘Conflicted’ is a monstrous rip-roaring finish, full of snarling guitars and slowly unhinging vocals it couldn’t have been a more breathless or apt end to the recording.
There is huge ambition with this release and truth be told, this very occasionally exceeds what the band are presently capable of but there really is so much to sink your teeth into and the songs themselves are real growers. Another very minor point is that once or twice the ‘clean’ vocals could be a little stronger but there is a real level of intelligence here that makes Spreading the Disease stand apart from peers and this is without doubt another massive leap up for the five-piece. Founder member and bass player Steve Saunders and his bandmates have worked hard on making “Mindcell” what it is and should be proud of the achievement as they resolutely do things their way, the band having created something that should find a home in the collections of many a metalhead. Brutal and brave, “Mindcell” needs to be heard.
03. The Anger Inside
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