The Foetal Mind

The Grand Contraction

Hypnotic Dirge Records 2011

The sophomore album from France's The Foetal Mind is a musical journey through depression and suicidal despair.  Sadness reigns across the numerous melodies of The Grand Contraction and brings to mind for me Katatonia's penchant for take a guitar oriented melody and crushing all joy from it.  Clean guitar melodies merge with fuzzier riffing on Big Crunch illustrating the nod Katatonia I mentioned.  The raspy black metal vocals and clean vocals fill the voids with added layers of melancholy.  Somber rolling riffs slowly gallop after arcing high notes pierce the blackness as Silence gets underway.  A bleak melodic lead haunts the soundscape within the cold embrace of the song.  A bass guitar pulses on the title track, like the beating of the heart as blood slowly drips from the wrist.  Sorrow permeates all the melodies that flow out of the fabric of the song.  By this time on the album you will have noticed the sparsity of vocals throughout, which allows the songs to reveal their moods and quit despair through instrumentation and songwriting.  A more upbeat, but no less dramatic feel dominates Esperit Nosible.  Instrumental is possessed of two personalities.  At first is a bass guitar driven song that mildly reminds me of the final track from Diabolical Masquerade's debut.  Then the song shifts into a hypnotic western guitar over a trip-hop beat that makes me think of a weird hybrid of Earth and Portished.   So many clean guitar melodies fall out of The Collapse and they are swimming with feelings of frailty and emotions of tear-ridden isolation.  The song is my highlight for the album.  The album closes out with another trip-hop beat, but this track is more in line with a full-on electronic/ambient soundscape that what we were exposed to on Instrumental.  The Foetal Mind have stripped their new album of almost all vocals and instead filled it with melodies and unending despair and frantic isolation.  This is a place where your mind can dwell within its internal sadness.