On behalf of all of us here at Heavy Blog I must apologise. In March we learned about one of 2019’s more striking and thought-provoking albums, yet you’ve had to wait until today for our coverage. Well, better late than never, for today we right that wrong and bring to you the incredible debut of one-man band An Isolated Mind’s I’m Losing Myself. With elements of black metal, death metal, electronics, post-rock, drone and more, prepare yourself for some weird and wacky compositions and let’s hope that they all come together in the end.
Generally records, even those of an avant-garde or progressive variety such as this one, have a core genre which acts as the foundation for its sound. Yet it’s difficult to pin down here, a testament to the amount of variety and, crucially, the depth of variety on display here. To be broad is one thing, but to be broad and deep is wholly another. The border of avant-garde black/death metal is probably the best starting point here, though post-rock and ambient could equally lay claim to being the most well represented. The opening few tracks follow a broadly similar template, with a heavier first half often utilising distinctly blackened harsh vocals, walls of sound guitars, and dissonant, bordering on atonal, chords. The latter halves then tend towards a post-rock sound, whether that be through the rich, warm synths and clarinet solo of “Afraid of Dissonance”, or the electronic and drone-like interlude of “Eternity in a Minute” that draws equal parts on Nine Inch Nails as it does elements of Hans Zimmer’s score for Blade Runner 2049. Further, at times both tracks evoke a meditative sensation, a la Schammasch’s Triangle, where synth and guitar lines seem to ripple around the listener, wave after wave of a gong-like sound entrancing us.
As you’ve probably realised by now, this album is pulling from a lot of different influences and directions. Yet, one stands out above the rest: the one and only Toby Driver. Indeed, our very own Scott likened the record to a “blackened Maudlin of the Well”. And boy oh boy, aren’t we glad for it. It’s a veritable treasure trove of listening to dig into, regardless of whether you want the skronky, Convulsing-like riffs (seriously though, how great was that album?!) from the first half of “Turritopsis dohrnii”, the post-rock embellished by touches of woodwinds and clarinet from its second half, or the intimate and emotionally charged post-rock of the title track, reminiscent of none other than We Lost the Sea. And while we’ve focused primarily on the sounds and variety on display here, make no mistake, there is an emotional depth here for those that seek it. The record is, in equal parts, a schizophrenic yet hypnotic meditation on the title; what it means to lose one’s self. Track names are key to guiding us on this journey through soaring highs, shattering lows, and an uncomfortable, ambiguous, and nihilistic middle ground. Certainly, amidst this chaos there is a catharsis to be found.
The record’s final two tracks mark a departure from the metal foundation we have become accustomed to. The title track, arguably the record’s highlight, is a beautiful passage of post-rock and an emotional heavy-hitter that gives way to a mammoth 17+ minutes of ambient and drone in the fittingly named closing track “I’ve Lost Myself”. Whilst admittedly a strange album in many respects, I’m Losing Myself is an intensely emotional and fiercely introspective record which deftly integrates its many disparate parts into a cohesive whole. It’s not necessarily a record that is there to be enjoyed, but given its subject matter perhaps that is for the best. One thing is for sure though, it’s there to be appreciated and, particularly as it’s available for Name Your Price (!!!) on bandcamp, you need to listen to this.