The winter months are somewhat of an odd time of year. While the holidays are wholesome and love is in the air, it’s also the time of year where depression and suicidal urges are said to be far, far more prevalent. As the trees die and the skies turn gray, those of us lost to depression and despondence tend to lose ourselves with it. We become more isolated, we rely on substances more and more, and we pray to whatever gods we believe in to make it through another three or four months of it. And where in the United States is the winter harshest?
Some might argue Michigan, and resident bummer beatdown kings Introvert are certainly not in disagreement. After dropping a devastating split with Irrita last year, this downtrodden duo have once again offered up their souls in an attempt to give you the appropriately titled A Collection of Failed Attempts to Breathe.
Desperate to mean something to somebody.
One of the worst parts of winter, for some, is the loss of love, happiness, and peace. Whether it be the one you thought you would spend eternity with leaving you for someone you thought you could trust, or cancer unjustly and without reason taking a family member from you, loss is a very real, very influential experience. Eric Fletcher knows this, and yet again he brings his multi-instrumental mastery to the table with a whole, heaping, heavy ass serving of self-loathing dissonance. From the very opening seconds of “Desolation’s Plough” to the stark and sobering conclusion of “Bright Eyes and Dark Days”, Fletcher shows neither himself nor the listener any mercy. Combining intricate, dizzying grooves with hellish dissonant chords and plenty of chugs to go around, Fletcher crafts towering monuments of masochism on tracks like “Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy”, only to destroy them in a fit of unhinged, sonic self-harm on album closer “Bright Eyes and Dark Days”. Equal parts enraged, woeful, and envious, Fletcher uses his bass tone to slowly grind away at the listener’s skull, using moments like the climactic breakdown in “10.21.13” and the melodic grooves of “When They Buried You, They Buried My Dreams” to leave whoever may be listening an empty, unfeeling shell of who they used to be. Murky and murderous, Fletcher never strays too far away from his influences, but nevertheless succeeds at sapping your serotonin supply bone dry.
Do you remember when you used to love me? I do.
While Fletcher lays a furious foundation across all thirteen tracks, his efforts are soundly and proficiently aided by vocalist and drummer, Connor Welsh. While each previous release has seen Welsh grow slowly but surely from an earnest but novice vocalist to one of the most terrifyingly honest frontmen in heavy music. Matched only by his superhuman feet and insanely precise sense of groove, Welsh bellows, yelps, and shouts desperately through each of the thirteen songs he and Fletcher have so perfectly crafted. Where songs like “Gelston After Dark” and “10.21.13” see him using mostly the same vocal inflection, more sinister servings of self-deprecation, such as “Reperfusion Injury” and the album closer see Welsh let loose, flowing from bitter, belligerent barking to strained and heart shredding screams that sound uniquely and painfully bare. Further examples of Welsh’s vocal gusto are the more beat-driven “Wounds that Time Can’t Heal”, where Welsh is waxing poetic about his past, and the utterly unholy “The Fountain of Youth”, which sees Welsh drop out and weave in between genre titans Dustin Mitchell (of Filth) and Devin MacGillivray (formerly of Villains/Yuth Forever) as the three give an absolutely blistering vocal delivery. Where Welsh is despondent, he is menacing. Where he is furious, he is heartbreaking. Welsh may not have the prettiest voice, but one thing is for sure: he is purely, unquestionably, and horrifically mesmerizing.
I just want to be loved again.
Introvert have consistently perfected their songwriting with each new release in the short few years they’ve been together. While the Yuth Forever influence is very much still apparent, don’t let that turn you away from ACOFATB. This album perfectly demonstrates why bands like this are so necessary: while it is for sure a depressing and downtrodden album, it also serves as a reminder that nobody is truly alone in how they feel. I greatly enjoyed Self-Helpless and I absolutely adored the split with Irrita, but neither of those releases hold a candle to what Welsh and Fletcher have created with this new record.
Return to Bummerdome.
FFO: Yuth Forever, Empathy, VCTMS
BUMMER BEATDOWN FOREVER