How often do you use the term “crazy”? Perhaps you use it to describe something unfathomable. Perhaps you use it to describe a feeling of mental illness. We’ve all heard the saying. “Crazy as a fox.” Someone who feigns insanity as either a defense mechanism or a way to scare everyone around them. But what happens when you actually are crazy? What happens when your reality is constantly being destroyed and rebuilt, to a point where you’re afraid to even be awake? Some would call that paranoia. Montclair, California’s downtempo/deathcore prodigies Destitute, however, would call it their new single, Mental Decay.
It’s been a little under a year since these bringers of the breakdown gave us their last (and arguably best) EP, aptly self titled, and in that time the band has been brooding, planning their next audio assault on our collective mental health.
“They keep telling me to stay humble and level heavy headed.”
Nobody seems to understand. No matter how many times you try to explain exactly how you feel, nobody listens. They just keep regurgitating the same platitudes you’ve always heard. You’ve had enough.
This is where vocalist Nathan Mancinas takes over, acting as the narrator of your putrid, paranoid experiences. From the first shiver-inducing bellows let loose from his lips, Mancinas makes one thing starkly apparent: he is most certainly not okay. Over the track’s nearly four-minute run time, Mancinas grunts, bellows, and barks his way through your head, relaying the absolute misery and discomfort he endures on a daily basis. Moments like the downright dirty introduction and the heart stopping final breakdown showcase this perfectly, as each line of lyric he spits falls off of his tongue with nothing but venom and pure, unfiltered hatred for himself and everyone around him. Make no mistake about it: this man is fed up.
“But I’m tired of fighting, I’m losing my fucking mind and I think I’m going insane.”
Whether or not your peers and family accept it, you are a person beyond the point of stability or rationality. You’ve accepted yourself for what you are, you’ve shut out everyone who loves you. All that’s left is you, and the voice in your head that’s been taunting you this entire time.
You’ll never escape.
If Mancinas’ vocals are the bullet, then Destitute’s triple-threat of tyrannical downtempo musicianship is certainly the gun. Wherever Mancinas is beating your psyche to a pulp, guitarist Jacob Garcia is there, lurking beneath and bringing punch after punch in the form of outright brutal chugging and slamming. For every ounce of empty space, Garcia is in the shadows, providing both atmosphere and absurd aggression anywhere you feel safe. Opening the track with a breakdown designed to shake Mephistopheles out of sleep and ending it with three times the ferocity, Garcia works tirelessly to ensure the listener is feeling absolute despair by the end of the song. Working right beside him as an accomplice in this musical mayhem is bassist Quinn Martinez. Using a bass tone as filthy as a mixture of vomit and waste, Martinez shows no mercy. Where Garcia is the blade opening the wound, Martinez is the salt and piss poured into it immediately after. All throughout the track, Martinez rumbles, pulverizes, and flattens the listener to a pancake. Shining moments (or, in this case, moments devoid of all light) for the pair are the oppressive introduction and climactic beatdown.
Their efforts would be all for not, however, if not for the barbaric drumming of David Boice. Supplying the last blow to your dome is Boice, who spends the track grinding at your skull with needle-thin precision. Each crack of the snare adds another gash on the wrist. Every last thump of the kick drum is sandpaper being shoved down your throat. Boice fills every second of his stay with barbaric, brutal beatdown inspired licks and grooves, meshed perfectly with deathcore enough to breathe fresh life into an otherwise dead scene. Boice is neither boringly simple or needlessly flashy, instead he fills each riff with the perfect tom fill or kick drum roll, adding that extra bit of grit the song doesn’t need but absolutely shows off.
“This sickness has me down on my knees, deep in the forest surrounded by darkness wrapped in a sheet fighting, panicking, crying, begging to be left alone. Begging to be extracted out of my head.”
You’ve been demoralized. You’ve been brow-beaten and gaslighted and threatened into submission. Nobody ever cared, did they? They only want what they can take and when that’s gone, so are you.
Nothing stays but the mental decay.
FFO: Immoralist, KING, Bodysnatcher