While metal/hardcore isn’t usually my preferred musical genre, I honestly can’t think of a more apt way to address (stalk, do battle with, and eviscerate) the horrors and confusion of bipolar disorder. Listening to The Greying, a Cape Cod/South Shore-based metal/hardcore band (imagine that), is a visceral experience. But these guys are no literary slouches. They just know their subject matter, and this isn’t the kind of shit that can be properly expressed in a polite pop song. And that is why they’ve blessed us with their Cognitive Dissonance EP. It was written by singer/songwriter Ryan Meehan, as a way to cope with his bipolar diagnosis.
Each of the five tracks focuses on a particular aspect of this bone-crippling, soul-destroying illness. The desperate rantings of singer Ryan Meehan’s exquisite suffering is driven hard by a raucous racket courtesy of Robert Carlson (guitars), Derrick Darmody (bass) and Noah deVeer (drums).
“Panic” starts out slow and menacing, snarling and grinding its teeth.
Panic comes in droves and circles ’round the carrion
memories that fester in the background.
Suffocate on words I should have spoken.
Sadness turns to rage.
I am broken.
“Regenerate” speaks (screams) of the difficult process of working through the pain in search of healing, and choosing life, however excruciating, over suicide.
Shed your skin
Destroy whatâ€™s underneath
Kill what you canâ€™t create
Separate reality from fate
I must learn to settle for myself
“I must learn to settle for myself.” Amazing. It’s all about self-acceptance, which seems like such an easy, straightforward thing, but lordy, it’s not.
“Demons Run” is a charming little ditty about confronting the devil within and the demons without, while one questions/confronts God. Nathan Calcagno of Regime lends his bone-chilling growl for multi-dimensional effect.
No promises of damnation
Wretched hearts go screaming toward the void regardless
Watch the world fall through the hour glass
Demons run when you relinquish hell
Lord forgive me. I’ve done nothing.
Lived a life in fear your hand would come to strike me down.
Felt the fault break with shepards spewing hate
Left the herd before the sickness caught me.
There’s something in there as well about our current political climate, but I won’t go there. Nope.
“Dissociate” is about running away from reality and not confronting your fears, while “Paranoia” is about how one tries to cope with uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. One is left wondering if, at times, the “cure” might be just as bad as the illness. “Dissociate” closes with a harrowing scream that ends in a sardonic chuckle. If that isn’t the perfect metaphor for living with bipolar disorder, whether it’s your own or a loved one’s, I don’t know what is.