The mind is powerful. It’s the genesis of actions and words, governing character and impacting daily life, bridging our thoughts and decisions, creating a world of good and evil. Pittsburgh metalcore band Those Who Fear dive deep into the power of thought and truth in their latest release, State of Mind, taking the mind head-on. The full-length album follows their 2014 release, Death Sentence, which hit No. 19 on both Billboard’s Top Christian Albums and Heatseekers charts. TWF have now released three studio albums with Facedown Records, staying true to their unique combination of the raw sting of reality and inspiring positive change. Together, TWF has crafted an album that ventures deep into both the worlds of metal and of man’s darkest thoughts.
State of Mind brings energy-fueled metal to a new level. From hardcore to djent and even to punk, there is something for everyone in TWF’s latest release. Vocalist John Healy exercises the same beefy tone that constitutes their signature metalcore sound. His vocals are backed up by Jacob Wilder’s animated drumming and his brother Luke’s innovative lead guitar work.
The simple, eerie sounds layered elegantly throughout the opening track, “State of Mind,” wildly display the band’s ability to utilize texture; it’s minimalism at its finest. The roughly-two-minute track is also the calm before the storm (if TWF can be even remotely calm); it’s the precursor to “Driven,” a track which will hit you with the dirtiest guitar you could ask for. Slow and thick, TWF slather their audience in urgency. Guest vocalist Garrett Russell of Silent Planet adds depth with a completely different tone to his screams.
While the record’s sound houses little variation throughout the album, it is the subtle treasures that drive the listener eagerly to the end. The tracks push from song to song, offering listeners several moments to savor; the band does well to expand their own sound while staying true to their genre. The percussive, djent guitar work in “Ten Years” strikingly contrasts the wet, ambient lead line, creating an atmosphere that supports Healy’s passionate lyrics. Listeners cling to moments like the one in “Death of Free Thought,” where the song breaks into a melodic lead line, a pleasant departure from the choppy guitar rhythm. Fans will shout along with the gang vocals in “Lost” or “TWF Nation.” They’ll love the surprise of recognizing Sleeping Giant vocalist Tommy Green’s vocals in “Heretic.” Those Who Fear know how to give their audience exactly what they ask for.
State of Mind is an epic ode to humanity, explored and empowered by way of music. Those Who Fear furiously captivate all who listen with an aggressive passion for a better world. Anchored to truth, the band shows no sign of fear. Between their brutal vocals, technical chops, and vibrant energy, fans can expect the storm that is Those Who Fear will only grow stronger. Change is on the horizon; State of Mind is merely the catalyst.