There are albums that seems to fit certain seasons of the year specifically. I’m especially interested in albums that seem to fit Halloween, and I think I’ve found one. Telepath’s new album “Mental Mutations” released on October 18th, and it has the guts, eerie edge, and shadowy nature to be the soundtrack for my next Halloween.
I honestly don’t know much about Telepath, and I purposefully didn’t ask for more information because it seems to fit the music for me not to know. Anyways, far as I can tell, Telepath is a one-man project featuring Jacob Holm-Lupo of Norway. I believe he plays all the instruments here. I find that impressive.
The music isn’t easy to label. There are components of progressive rock, but the very core of Telepath is more along the lines of instrumental doom metal/rock with electronic elements. The overall sound is centered upon horror, as Jacob takes influence from the Giallo films of the 70s/80s in Italy. These films are mystery thrillers, but are usually firmly in the realm of horror, as well. So, the album, emulating those films, sounds mysterious, atmospheric, surreal, and grainy. Giallo films are generally pretty gruesome, and so you will hear a certain amount of hanging dread in the air as you listen.
“Mental Mutations” purposefully tries to sound retro without actually resorting to any of the tired 70s prog rock tropes you might expect. I think that is a difficult thing to accomplish, but Jacob absolutely has. So, instead, you will hear searing synth scares, gritty guitar riffs, galloping yet secretive grooves, and an ambiance that feels like something is stalking you in the night. The music can often be more about disturbing textures or gut reactions, and it really succeeds in that area. It is an unnerving experience, for sure, but I find that I absolutely enjoy it and that the music is more than just a horror simulation. The music is genuinely brilliant and even, shall I say, strangely beguiling.
Most of the songs seem to be trying to hit a certain feeling or texture, and so the feelings within songs like “Mourner’s Hill” or “Escape from the Witch House” can almost be understood by their titles before you even hear them. There are a few standouts for me, too. “Tyrellian” is almost fully atmospheric and electronic in nature. Synth whips and burgeons in almost unnatural ways, and an even more un-organic beat emerges in the second half that is both catchy and off-kilter. “Bad Machine” is another favorite, and is an absolutely brilliant song with a deep, guttural groove played right up against a higher pitched keyboard melody. It marches incessantly and triggers the furthest corners of your mind.
My favorite, though, is “No More Wishes”. It hits in the middle of the album, and it is the only song with vocals. Honestly, I want more songs like this one, even a whole album. The music plays more into the rock/metal side of things with a decidedly creepy and doomy vibe, and the vocals are searing hot coals of distorted fire. Your hairs will stand on end as it slogs forward in domineering and elegant fashion. Oh, and the chorus is impossibly catchy.
Telepath has a genuinely great album here. “Mental Mutations” has unsettling mood, yet also stunning musicality. You won’t feel the need to give up on one or the other in order to enjoy this thematic album. It really is the perfect soundtrack for the darkening days of autumn.