Label: Good Samaritan Records / Friendly Otter Records / Dingleberry Records / Krimskramz Records / Hard Core For The Losers Records / Tadzio Records / One Wild Collective Records / Pure Heart Records / Mosh Potatoes Records
Mental Health, the second full-length from Deer in the Headlights, is a record that perfectly captures what screamo/skramz should be about. Throat-shredding, desperate vocals; guitar lines and riffs as melodic and energetic as they are powerful; and frantic drums that rarely sit still. There’s a good dose of emo-violence in their sound, and also that sense of the music being simultaneously larger-than-life and deeply personal, much like Welcome The Plague Year captured on their demo.
It’s not an especially long record – a little over twenty minutes – but Mental Health is packed full of such emotion and energy, and so many ideas, that it feels longer. The title track in particular is a two and a half minute epic, and I adore the background meody that pops up briefly during opener ‘Ours – Theirs’. Closer ‘Special Treatment’ sees the album out in ominous style, that has more than a hint of doom to it (or, alternatively, those long, slow tracks grind and power violence bands often like to include on their records). Up until that point though, Mental Health is a whirlwind of emotion and catharsis; of longing for things to be better but not always being sure how to go about making them that way; of battling your demons, and victory being defined by survival. It’s a wonderful record, and though the band don’t seem to be too active at present judging by their social media, even if they never did anything again then Mental Health would be a stunning way to bow out, as this is a record that feels timeless.
Mental Health is available on vinyl via the labels listed above; and can be streamed and downloaded via Bandcamp.