For those who’ve not encountered Foul Body Autopsy before, it is the brainchild, creation and performance outlet of one person – Tom Reynolds. Tom’s a lovely guy with a wealth of talent, a morbid sense of humour and a collection of death metal riffs just waiting to rip your spleen out and serve it to you with a nice Sauvignon Blanc. He’s also a smart guy, and he suffers from mental health issues. Which is why he’s chosen to write this new EP about the struggles of dealing with this, and has chosen to release it on World Mental Health Day.
I have written this EP from my own perspective of living with a mental illness. I often find that mental illness tends to be romanticized by the media and vapid celebrities who seem to think it’s an interesting personality accessory. I wanted to talk about living with mental illness from a human perspective, not as a way to glean sympathy or to feel sorry for myself but to just tell the truth. Living with an untreated mental illness is fucking horrible! I can’t say at any point it has been romantic! Though I have gone through treatment and I am on psychoactive medication it still affects my life from time to time. Obviously, things are much better than they have been in years but this is something I am probably never going shake off completely.
The five songs included are ridiculously well produced (mixed and mastered by the legendary Russ Russell), with recordings of psychological interviews wrapping the tracks together to add a bit of atmosphere. Each is as brutal as the others, with crunching rhythms and guttural vocals being wound around melodic guitar riffs. It’s hard to explain why, but despite all the layers of sound, Consumed does sound like the work of one person – Tom’s personality is just stamped over it so prominently.
I’ve given it a few listens and I just can’t pick a favourite out. There is a definite shape to each track, a formula that has been used for each of them, so there is a thread of familiarity from “Vicious Cycles” through to “Trapped In The Shadow of Fear”. However, each song has its own personality and tale to tell. “My Liberation in Death” is probably the heaviest overall, but I found the melodic interjections in “Like a Phantom of the Heart” reminded me of John Carpenter’s music – quite apt in a way.
By delving into his own psyche, I honestly think that Tom Reynolds has produced his strongest and most enjoyable collection of songs to date. To use them to highlight this important date on the “Awareness Calendar” is a great move also. Absolutely worth a fiver of anyone’s money.
Consumed By Black Thoughts is out now via bandcamp