Patient Identification: Patient No, 1412
Date admitted: unknown
Reason for admission: unknown
“Patient 1412, welcome to your new home. We have put you here because we feel like you are dangerous. Not just to others, but to yourself, as well. We know you don’t remember anything, but we’re going to bring it out of you somehow.”
Your head is racing. Your subconscious is telling you that something is very very off. Nobody will tell you why you’re here. Did you hurt someone? Did you hurt yourself? All that you know is that your mind is rapidly deteriorating. You’ve never been so frightened.
Telling the story of your decline into madness are Streamwood, IL’s very own EMPATHY. After debuting with a venomous introductory single, aptly entitled “Agony” (boasting a feature from VCTMS frontman Jon Matalone) and following up with an even more crushing single in “Old Hag”, EMPATHY are back to flesh out the terrifying tale of Patient 1412 with their debut ep, Running from Happiness.
You can’t be certain, but it feels like you’ve been in this place for months, maybe even years since you were first admitted. As time has gone on, you’ve begun to notice… strange things. You can no longer sleep. You can’t look at light because everything is blinding. Every voice sounds like nails on an infinitely long chalkboard. Each day gets worse and worse.
As we’ve seen before, multi-instrumentalist Anthony Williams is no stranger to psychosis. Williams spends the nearly 20 minute run-time of the ep shredding, grooving, and slamming his way through the listener’s brains like an orbitaclast made of red-hot iron. While you may be more than familiar with Williams work with VCTMS, here, he makes a concerted effort to make you feel every last bit of bitter blood he feels toward mankind as a whole. From the jaw-dropping drop in of album opener “1412” to the more somber moments, like the closer of “Agony”, Williams has made his mission clear: he is here to destroy your psyche. Whereas songs like “Widow” and “Mind Games” are more straight-forward pit-starting anthems of aggression, songs like “Old Hag” and “Traumatized” see Williams flexing his chaotic, groove-laden chops. But Williams is not merely a seven-string sorcerer, because he provides the thunderous drums and murky, filth coated bass that makes each riff slice through the listener’s faculties like a butcher’s knife through beef. Shining examples of this an be heard in stunning tracks like “1412” and “Old Hag”.
Treatments aren’t working. Medicine is worsening your condition. You’ve started being violent. You’ve been acting out. You’ve attacked nurses, orderlies… even your own visitors. But why? Why are you so steadily losing your sanity? Or did you ever have it to begin with, 1412?
It’s coming to an end, finally. You’ve become accustomed to nightly fits of sleep paralysis. You’ve become numb to every and any emotion. All that’s left now is to ponder your demise, because one way or another, you know you’ll die here.
To speak of psychosis is to speak of frontman Ernesto Yebra. Throughout all six tracks, Yebra shouts, gurgles, shrieks, and bellows his way through the daily neuroses of 1412 in an unusually grisly fashion. Each bit of insanity in his voice is tangible, almost corporeal. Each track is filled to the brim with ferocity and pure sonic hatred. From the downright chilling opening bars of “1412” to the climactic breakdown in “Old Hag”, Yebra demands your attention; and rightfully so, as his vocal delivery is consistently harrowing. Make no mistake about it, Yebra is broken, and he will stop at nothing to make that point startlingly clear. Songs like “Traumatized” and “Old Hag”see Yebra at his most aggressive, showing the full range of his vocal capabilities. While there are no moments of melodious, contrived clean singing, Yebra more than compensates by bringing a performance so intimidating, that Bronson himself would be scared to be in a dark alley alone with him. If Williams is the gun held firmly to your temples, then Yebra is certainly the bullet tearing through your bones and brain matter, leaving you a downtrodden shell of your former self.
“1412, this is your last option. Nothing we’ve tried has worked, nothing we’ve attempted has yielded any results. Either comply, or we will be forced to take drastic action. You don’t want to die, do you?”
Of course you do. Nothing else could ease the terror of being trapped in your own insanity, to the point that all you want is a quick, merciful end to your existence.
Running from Happiness is a clear example of a flawless debut ep. This depressive duo has crafted six tracks of pure, conceptual, mind-shattering perfection, bettered only by flashy production and dialogue-heavy interludes in between tracks, detailing 1412’s experiences with trauma, aggression, suicidal urges, and sleep paralysis, bringing these concepts into the physical realm. EMPATHY are poised to take over the Nu-Metalcore scene, one lacerating breakdown at a time.
FFO: Yuth Forever, Barrier, Witness, Reflections