Whether she’s crushing us with intense riffs or propelling a harmony forward with little more than texture and tonal pressure, Staytus takes what she does very seriously. Songs like “None of It,” “Nevermore,” and “Dreams From Hell” don’t come from a place of predictability, but instead a desire to explore heavy music like no other act has been doing in 2022, which is part of what makes the new album Disease of the Mind such an exciting piece to experience. Disease of the Mind is built in the foundation of burly basslines and smothering guitar parts, but there’s something to note about the compositional diversity of its contents as well.
Although she is clearly influenced by the grunge and nü metal of the ’90s, Staytus doesn’t seem like an artist who wants to reject the surreal qualities of contemporary rock, either. She has a lot of postmodern undertones in “Don’t Die” and “Nobody Cares,” and I get the feeling that if she were able to experiment with them just a bit more in the future, she might have something that exceeds the underground buzz of this initial offering – which I would go so far as to call one of the smarter rock LPs to drop this season. October is off to a nice start, and it’s indie artists like this driving the excitement.
Staytus wants to use more than her voice in “Hourglass” and “Really Gone” to tell us something about herself and the music she makes, and by utilizing the basslines in these tracks as more than an instrumental buffer, she makes it all the more difficult to discount the depth of her statements in any given verse.
The virtuosity of the fretwork is enough to get us excited, but it’s when we find the low-end tonal presence coupled with a charismatic beat in “Dreams From Hell,” it makes for a tense backdrop that requires a little more panache from the vocalist than some artists would be able to account for. From where I’m sitting, Staytus isn’t one of them – her swagger alone speaks for itself in Disease of the Mind, and if it’s this powerful coming out of the gate in her debut LP, one has to wonder how good she’s going to be at using her confidence by the time she reaches her third or fourth album.
From “Part of Me” to “Crawling” and “Decay,” personality is one of the most important components of what makes Disease of the Mind a smashing listen, and I have a strong feeling that we’re only getting a mild glimpse into what Staytus has got cooking in her artistic kitchen in this first effort. She comes across as an artist who has it together, and as long as she can continue cultivating something with both her lyrical and instrumental wits, I believe her career in heavy music-making is only going to get more praise from all the right people in the American underground today.
Staytus takes some gutsy risks in this album, but in her campaign to develop sensible melodic noise we’re able to discover both a poet and a troubadour who uses larger-than-life riffage to tell the stories that need to be told.