11214071_10153408316694631_8351503886820396446_nBy David Coooke

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Savannah has always been one of the best kept secrets for having a very unique art and music culture and this album is the exemplar.  The entire album has a vibe to it that I think everyone can appreciate.  The music is straight up rock and roll each song takes you to a different place. The album has a diversity that is unparalleled in today’s sterile standards.  Having been recorded in analog (on tape) it clearly shows these guys pulled out all the stops to make this the best they could.

“Blister” is my favorite track. It is straight forward, with a catchy melody and an upbeat groove that just grabs your attention.  Second on my favorite list is definitely “Blue Dream”; it somehow captures the nostalgia of a good Saturday night in downtown Savannah.  It combines bluesy rock sounds with a bit more edge, that makes it very contemporary.

“Iconoclast” is definitely the heaviest song on the album with all of the ingredients that make a good jam: heavy drums, powerful guitar rhythms, and a soaring solo.

“Smoke” definitely shows the bands diversity as songwriters and musicians by having very great dynamics to it.  I seem to find myself singing the chorus every time I hear it.

Every song is different but something about the way everything is written its got some glue in there that makes it all cohesive  Writing albums is something that seems like a lost art, but these guys have certainly done well.

This isn’t a collection of songs. It IS an ALBUM and I strongly suggest you give it a listen in its entirety.  Every time I hear it, I hear something new. It just seems to flow together like a good book.  This is just great music- every instrument and every musician plays to the interest of the song.  Overall I’d give it a 10/10! Everything is solid. This is the kind of music the world needs.  This is the kind of music that makes every ten year old kid want to pick up a guitar and start a rock band.

Good job you guys!

*****David is a local producer, engineer, and musician here in Savannah. He currently operates out of Pepper Town Studios where he has worked with bands like PRIDEMEAT. HONESTLIE, and AWAKEN THE DAWN. He has a knack for really capturing the energy of a band in the studio. He is new to writing music reviews and we are happy to have him as a guest here at This City Is Haunted. David is a self-professed gear junkie and can talk shop with you all day. You can contact David by visiting his website: http://peppertownstudio.com/********

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I have had the opportunity to review a lot of Savannah bands lately. So far, I cant say anything bad. It’s starting to piss me off. Can someone please submit something shitty? It’s starting to look like these bands are paying me off or something. I assure you, they dont…or I would have more guitars and a new motorcycle. But there is honestly some great music coming out. And BBXF is one I have been waiting to hear for a while.

BBXF have always been great musicians. At least since I first saw them. That was never the problem. While they gelled as a band, they did mostly covers. There’s nothing wrong with that, but when you are capable of doing so much more…

Ive been lucky enough to watch these guys from being just a weekend jam band that played covers and a couple of originals to becoming what they are today. They have spent the past two years honing their craft and what we have now is a full length album. They are one of those rare bands that you cant really pin down what their collective influences may be. Deftones? Pink Floyd? Led Zepplin? Chevelle? Who knows…depends on the song! I like that. You are constantly saying “What the fuck am I listening to?”

This album has been a long time in the making. I can remember hearing pre-mixes 8 months ago with Kevin. But the work has paid off.

Look. There is a serious and I mean SERIOUS lack of “Rock” bands in Savannah. By that, I mean most bands are metal, or punk, or some other type of genre. BBXF is a rock band through and through. Much like their current peers: Between Symmetries and Broken Glow. This is so refreshing to hear. BBXF is helping to fill a hole here in our scene. They rock, without ever getting into the abrasive territory. They are unassuming, without ego, and just want to rock.

Dont let that unassuming demeanor confuse you. This is the real deal. The easy going guys that you meet before the show, turn into rock stars when they hit the stage.

If you do meet them before a show, Kevin is a hugger. Just warning you.

There is a good mix of ballads, and all out rock songs on the album. Songs like “Gone” show that they really know how to craft an honest, beautiful song.  While tracks like “Bug Out Bag” are full on riff rock. There is something for everyone. We get to see a broad spectrum of style.

I have to say, that where they are at their best is the in-between songs. The ones that mix that great ballad-like song crafting with the hard rock influences. You can hear this on the track “It’s You”. Which may be my favorite track, because of the diversity. It shows the more mature skills that song-writers generally dont learn until several albums in. I cant stress this enough-rarely does a band nail down their trademark sound on the first try. It’s really an amazing feat.

I imagine that the lead single will be “The Haunted”, since a radio edit was included in my review pack. Like “It’s You”, it really showcases all of their sound. It also has a great hook on the chorus. This is a great track to lead-off with. It’s an introduction to the band’s over-all style.

I cant lie. I was blown away from the first track, “Truth Be Told”. Kevin Sorrell’s vocals are more confident than I have ever heard them live. He has a smooth croon that reminds you of Brandon Boyd from Incubus. But he isn’t afraid to get aggressive either, like on the second track “Chic”.

Zach Towns, however, can kiss my ass. Really. No one should be that consistently great at guitar. His solos are tasteful, and he knows when to back off and be the rhythm guy. I hate you. But I love you. I imagine that our relationship will be complicated from now on. Im ok with that. Sorry. Not sorry.

And now to kiss the rest of the band’s ass….I will talk about how solid they are together. Everyone is on their A-game. The rhythm section holds it down through all of the stops and starts, and there is some seriously melodic bass playing that you have to listen out for. The drums are never over-playing, which is amazing if you’ve ever know a drummer.

If you have a good drummer, you have a good band. But if you have a GREAT drummer, you have a legendary band.

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But Im not just here to kiss ass. I do have a few criticisms. The main thing being the production. It’s almost too polished. There is a good deal of studio magic going on, but never to the point of it taking over the sound of the band. Like I said, Its a minor little complaint. I would prefer to hear them a little more raw, and less “radio ready/friendly”.  On the flip-side, I also know that they can pull off most of this stuff live, so the few areas where studio magic did its work, are really irrelevant. But hey, just personal taste.

But hey, the fact is they have a great sounding album, regardless of my personal taste. I think it will appeal to a great deal of personalities, and can easily cross genres. I hope this a sign that the Savannah scene isn’t afraid of rock bands, or bands that can appeal to a larger crowd.

Hipsters beware. The rock is coming in 2016.

The Album release party will be at The Barrelhouse South Jan. 8th with guests Broken Glow and Akilavue.

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Between Symmetries new album “Movetur” officially drops on October 23rd. 

Between Symmetries is a new band to me. Meaning that I have not played any shows with them, or seen them live, or verbally/sexually harassed them. I have had casual Facebook chats with Adam, mostly about our love for semi-hollow bodied guitars (We both have some sweet cherry red Gibson/Epiphone guitars that increase your sexiness by tenfold when you don one. Try it out sometime, you will eventually get used to strangers bowing down at your feet). With that being said. I don’t know shit about these guys. Minus the fact the are very photogenic in front of palm fronds. And they look like they play a mean tennis game.

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So I went into listening to ” Movetur” without having any idea what to expect, and to say I was surprised doesn’t even start to explain the first listening. I mean, I didn’t even know what genre they were. But I was really hoping that their sound didn’t involve anything that takes 15 words to spell out. Like “Post hardcore Batmancore dance party emo breakdown skull postpuppy fartcore jazz fusion industrial” I hate that kind of shit. There are only two types of music to me: Good, and Bad.

So I just pressed play, and went about my business (I might have been burying a hooker that day, or volunteering at the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen. Don’t judge me, I’m complicated), and I was pleasantly impressed after each and every song. Afterwards I went back and listened to their previous album “Atlas”. Which is totally different in my opinion. While I like “Atlas”, it’s easy to hear how much they have grown as a band since then. Which is weird, since “Atlas” was released this year as well. Real talk: I was blown away.

Which brings me to a little off topic, and serious point: There are some really great bands in Savannah right now. Maybe more than ever before, and I have been here 13 years. If you are not out there, going to see shows, you are missing out on a very important time period in the history of the Savannah music scene. There is so much diversity, and pro-quality local bands out there, it’s almost daunting. Being in a band myself, it motivates me to be on my “A Game”….which is how a positive music scene gets started. We all inspire one another to be better, and learn from one another. All of the bands I have interviewed or reviewed on this website has been my honest opinion. I have been blown away a whole lot the past couple of years. I feel lucky to be a part of this slice of scene-ness, while currently playing in Broken Glow (shameless plug. Buy our stuff plz thanx).

That being said, “Movetur” has inspired the shit out of me. Between Symmetries draws from a pretty deep well of influences, that at times are VERY apparent. But that’s not to say that they are copping any other bands style. They have managed to pick inspiration from the source material and make it their own. I hear so many different styles in their music. I hear some Sparta, Helmet, At the Drive In, Sonic Youth, Bloc Party, The Cure and in heavier moments maybe  Thrice, Failure, or Thursday. The entirety of “Movetur” sounds familiar, but then again, it sounds fresh at the same time. Let’s put it like this : They have a great palette of colors that are immediately recognizable, but once the colors hit the canvas, it becomes a painting you’ve never seen before.

Let’s get down to the music: The music is extremely well thought out. The riffs are memorable, and the production is top notch. The band recorded the album at Audio Boogie Studios in Brunswick, GA. With Levi Hamilton at the helm, engineering/producing.

The entirety of the album has a huge textured feel. A big wall of sound. There’s a lot going on, but it never gets sloppy, even in their more psychedelic moments. Their use of effects almost puts them in shoegaze territory, but then you get pulled right back in to the simple groove. Honestly, it’s hard to describe because of the immense amount of shit going on. Really. I’m getting frustrated. I swear, I’m good with words. But I just got done freebasing some Clearasil and eating a bag of Fritos with my cats in the bathtub, so maybe I shouldn’t write in this current mental state. Ill go snort some Pop Tart filling to balance things out.

The guitars weave in and out of pristine clean, and all out fuzz breakdowns.  Adam and Daniel play so well in tandem that sometimes what you hear sounds like one guitar track. I cant comment on how well they pull this off live, but if it’s even half as good as on the album…..that’s impressive. There are plenty of almost metallic guitar breakdowns, that are heavy as hell, but stay just outside the realm of being in-your-face abrasive. Tasteful, is a good word. The standout track for this borderline is “Poseiden”. The track walks a fine line between being metal, and hardcore. But like I said, it’s done very classy. To be honest, some of the most impressive moments is when things are understated, and psychedelic. And just to get music-nerdy, the chord voicings are sometimes dissonant and other times beautiful. (Editors Note: As a guitar player, I love hearing a chord and saying to myself “What the hell was that?”. I will have to watch their hands live and steal all of their cool ideas. Then I will get all the money. And Power. And a Pony)

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Adam’s vocals are obviously influenced by post-punk. But he can move from subtle, to all out wailing. The only criticism I can give is there are a lot of missed opportunities for some great harmonies. But for the most part, its a single vocal track throughout, minus “A Eulogy” that has a choir of awesome overdubs. I will also say that you can tell that Adam is experimenting with his voice a good bit. And most of the things he tries works well. There is a definite change in his approach to ” Movetur” than their previous effort “Atlas”. There’s more confidence here.

The lyrics are all well written, and never stray into saccharine-sophomoric-land. There’s some real emotion behind every word, and some songs are ambiguous enough to make them mean anything you want. Deftones do this all the time. You make the song as personal as you want it to be.

Anthony Zeppetella and Jack Nave hold down the rhythm section, playing right in the pocket through all of the changes. And there are a lot of changes. I wouldn’t call Between Symmetries “progressive”, but they have some of those tendencies. Not everything is verse-chorus-verse. Jack has that growling, nasty-as-shit bass sound that can usually only be attained by cranking an Ampeg up all the way. Anthony is diverse as a drummer, keeping things at first listen kind of simple. But after a few times through the album, you start to hear some really great snare rolls, and little nuances that stick out (Pun Intended).

Which brings me to the next point…

The production is top notch throughout the album. All of the tracks “bleed” into one another, sound like one big song when listened to in order. This is almost a lost art these days, as most people put out singles in lieu of a fully realized concept of an album. The first track is a spoken word intro, setting the tone of the album. The standout track, and personal favorite of mine is ” Nero”. It switches from minor, brooding heaviness to a great hook of a chorus. Then you get slammed with a breakdown that eventually ends the track and moves seamlessly to my next favorite track “A Eulogy”. Eulogy begins with a beautiful and moody lead guitar melody, and vocals that will have you humming for days.

In closing: The songs are better crafted than they were on “Atlas”, and between the production and the song-writing, “Movetur” just plain sounds more…..grown up? Their sound hasnt changed per se, but it has been honed. It seems they are really coming into their own as a band. I really can’t wait to hear what they come up with next.

 You can order “Movetur” on bandcamp October 23rd: http://betweensymmetries.bandcamp.com/album/movetur

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WEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

By Christopher Horton

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Nowhere Child started out with Kerry Walsh, in his spare bedroom, with a guitar and a computer. Around this time last year he started crafting the song structures that have now materialized as their first album “Under the Above”. He spent a short stint in IAMSOUND with me, and I got to see these songs start as a good idea, and turn into a full album. Kerry is a transplant from Atlanta, where he played in several different projects. But he started started working these solo song ideas at open mic nights at The Wormhole, working his way into the scene. I would sometimes play drums for him, sometimes people would play guitar with him, but there was never anyone permanent.  Soon he realized that he needed to be in a band again. There was only one problem….he needed a full time live band. Enter Johnny Hill (drums) and Stephen Sebulski (bass). Both are old friends and collaborators of Kerry’s.

I produced one track on the album.  With that exception, Kerry has really put in a lot of work on this album. Doing all of the mixing on his own, and learning about recording by himself the whole time (which isn’t easy by the way, try making a whole song by yourself, then learning the programs needed to mix it).

After a bit of woodshedding over the Summer, the band is ready to get some shows under their belt, and they have a finished album for everyone to hear. I caught up with Kerry to ask him a few questions before his Album release Party on October 10th at the venue where it all started for him, The Wormhole!

Nowhere Child started as basically a solo project. Tell me a little about what made you start it, and where the inspiration came from.

NOWHERE CHILD was originally the very last concept our old Atlanta crew came up with right before everyone died from an overdose and had little humans and left me with the hotel bill. So I carried on. Johnny ( our drummer) is 2nd GEN  in this circus . His big bro Stevie was my rhythm player for years . We are family.

Now that you have a full band, do you see your sound changing as you guys write new material?

Absolutely , it has already shaped itself into the monster we were hoping for. Naturally, in any band you have a concept for a record or a song. Pitch it to the crew. They have a idea of what they would like to do and VIOLA! All of my Justin Timberlake songs turn into nirvanatalicaknot ( Editors note: Thats a pretty good description of the sound.)

“Dead Flowers” is a standout track on the album. What’s the story behind the song? What was the songwriting process?
Dead flowers is something very close to my heart . I wrote that at my fathers grave.. It hurts from a deep place to play it. I had a fucked up childhood . It touches on the guilt, the hate, touches on the loneliness… I was raised in section 8 area of Atlanta . It was rough. I learned everything the wrong way. That song. That song is me begging a dead man to come back.. That song is realizing I’m following the same foot steps.. That’s why I had my daughter sing with me the last 4 bars…. Fuck… Fuck that song man.
You’re new to the Savannah scene, coming from Atlanta originally. What are some of the differences you see between the two?
I don’t know, man. I love Savannah and have shown a TON of love to the scene here. I think you got to be here for a long while or something before they really give a shit. Got to earn it or something. It’s kinda the same in Atl except you can spread out a lot more you know ? So for example: I thought there were all these venues in 912 but it’s just dudes naming their bedroom something that sounds like a venue and having house shows.. WHICH IS DOPE- except I’m not cool enough yet so I can’t play. Haha
What can we expect in the future from Nowhere Child?
Duuuuuuuuudddeee…. You ever seen Metallica’s documentary “Some Kind of Monster”?.
Thanks Kerry!! Check them out live October 10th at The Wormhole for Nowhere Child’s CD release party! While your’e there, get a CD!

Info: https://www.facebook.com/Nowhere-Child

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I first came across Last Red Ransom at the Wingmen Motorcycle club, where I was running sound for their show. I didn’t really know what to expect, as I had only heard demos from the internet at the time (Their debut: “Sleep Well Sweet Vanity). It’s safe to say, that I was completely blown away.

At the time, they were mixing electronic music, with bouts of guitar heavy rock. With dual vocalists Andrew Saint Woods, and C.K. Woods. They rounded out the live band with drummer Lance Adair, and bassist Zakk Morrow. They put on quite a show, and left a definite impression.

Just around the time I started wondering “What the hell are they up to?” I got a message from Andrew asking for this review. I quickly obliged.

The sound has changed a good bit, and for the better. It seems the band has taken some cues from Depeche Mode and Massive Attack for “Snubnose”. Not to mention Sneaker Pimps, Portishead, Hooverphonic, NIN and a whole myriad of gothic/industrial influences. They manage to take so many of these sounds, and make them fresh with their own spin.

The album kicks off with “The Electric Sky”, a great intro to what you are about to get yourself into. It’s a wild ride from here on out folks, strap in. “The Electric Sky” is almost a mantra, with repeating lyrics, and an infectious keyboard melody. Theres elements of all kinds of genres mixed together in this one song. You have Trance beats that lead to dubstep breakdowns. This is a continuing trend throughout the entire album. LRR doesn’t stick to one sound for very long.

“Burning Buildings” is a solid masterpiece. It’s brooding, and builds to a ridiculously catchy chorus. Youll be hearing the words ” I think I love you too much…” long after you hear the song. Hell, I’ve had it on constant rotation on my personal music playlist.

The albums flows nicely, and gone are most of the guitar driven elements of their previous sound. Not to say that the guitar is absent. But it takes a backseat on “Snubnose”. Gone too are the screaming vocals. Personally, I love what they have done here, and it seems like a natural progression from their other effort “Lanterns”.

Another stand out track on “Snubnose” for me is “The House”. Once again we have another melody that follows you, with a huge chorus that contrasts with the sparse verses. C.K ‘s voice really shines on this track. This song is just screaming for a remix, and I am sure there will be a few in the future.

“Welcome to America” is pretty straight forward with it’s tongue in cheek lyrics. It’s hugely atmospheric with a piano driving the main melody of the song. The NIN influence stands out here the most. The twist being Andrew’s solo, almost spoken vocals.

I was expecting a great album from LRR, but I didn’t know that I was going to be getting something so somber, and diverse. They cover a lot of sonic ground, while still retaining a signature sound that doesn’t sound contrived or forced. I especially love the way that the tracks “Giants” “The Living Trust” and “Etch” all seem to flow as one entity. I didn’t get to ask Andrew if this was a concept album, and meant to flow that way. But if it is, then you guys nailed it.

Al of the songs share an airy, melancholic vibe. The songs interweave and have a thematic, soundtrack quality to them. The lyrics are just vague enough for you to take your own interpretation of their meanings, and I personally love that quality in any band. There is an overall sexiness to their sonic landscapes that adds to the feeling that this is a soundtrack to an event left unknown to the listener. You don’t really hear much music being made like this these days, and while the style that LRR has undertaken can seem nostalgic, it remains independent from it’s more obvious influences.

I have an early copy of the album, so I cant really comment on the production. Andrew literally sent me an updated version of a song 24 hours after sending the original. The album already sounds great, so I can only imagine what it will end up sounding like once it has it’s ‘finishing touches”.

“Snubnose” is slated for release this month. Keep up with the links below for dates!

You can check out Last Red Ransom on their websitehttp://www.lastredransom.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/LAST-RED-RANSOM

Fishtooth- First EP Review

Posted: September 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

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Fishtooth is a heavy band that had kind of a rocky start. Their first line up had a frontman, and they were a four piece. I had the chance to play a few shows along side of them during that era. They were an okay band. Im only being honest when I say that they were unremarkable, and easily forgettable. But they were nice guys, and they were always down to fill out a bill when another band was needed for a show. I always felt like they were holding back with their sound.

Fast forward a little bit, and we have the departure of their frontman. Now most bands would seek out a new singer, and keep on the same path they had set themselves upon from the get-go. However, Fishtooth decided to remain a three piece and start sharing vocal duties. Remember how I said it seemed like they were holding back? Well they certainly were. As a three piece they came back, and started again with the Pour Larry’s battle of the bands this past year. And whoa…..what a change.

Fishtooth’s EP really tries to capture their new live sound. It’s groove heavy rock, with well crafted song structures. A far cry from when they started out. They take a lot of cues from nu-metal, but also from modern rock bands as well. It’s a good blend of things that sound familiar, but with their own spin on it. You can hear their influences as they take a lot of pointers from bands like Staind, System of a Down,Tool, Chevelle, Lamb Of God, and Korn.

The EP opens with “Self Entitled” which happens to be the stand out song for me, personally. It has a Chevelle vibe, weaving clean melodic parts with all out chaos in between. It’s heavy as hell, with downtuned guitars and brutal vocals. Like i said, this is definitely my favorite track, and a great album opener.

The other track that I really dig is “Existence”. It’s a fast paced burner, with a killer guitar riff. The chorus of the song really hits hard and is extremely catchy.

The thing with having more than one vocalist, is that it has to be cohesive. Mastodon manages to pull this off flawlessly, as everyone in that band seem to work as a unit. Fishtooth are on their way to pulling off the same thing. The switching between vocalists never seems forced, and they work well in tandem. Even though their styles are different entirely. One being more of a hardcore “yell” (think Slayer) and another with melodic singing that veers right into all out Metal screaming, The switch offs work really well, and keep the songs interesting. The song “Vyktum” really shows this off.

I always hate to call out an individual member of the band, but in this case I have to. The drumming on this album is SUPERB. 

Not to say that the bass and guitars are lacking in any way. Everyone in the band carries their own weight, but for me….the drums really stand out. There’s some really great double bass beats, and when the whole band locks into that groove, things get HEAVY. This EP isn’t when I first noticed this, however. It was when I saw them live that I noticed their breakdowns with double bass grooves that just about punches you in the chest. Thankfully, they don’t use this trick in every song. It’s used sparingly, so whether you’re listening to the EP, or watching them at a live show you are constantly wondering “When is another heavy part coming?”. This is a good thing, because I think if they relied solely on breakdown heaviness, the music would get really boring, really quick.

I know Im reviewing an album here, but I have to say that if you really want to enjoy Fishtooth, their live show is where it’s at. The EP captures a lot of that energy that they have live, but certainly not all of it. I can even honestly say, that I think these songs sound tighter live, than they do on recording!

All in all, Fishtooth is a band that rose like a Phoenix from the ashes, and came out on top. I’m really interested in what they are going to do next. There is really only one tiny gripe I have and that is the lyrics are very straight forward. But that’s really the only thing I can say negatively about the EP. These guys could have easily thrown in the towel with the departure of their vocalist. But the fact that they not only stuck together, but managed to improve their sound and evolve…..well that says a lot.

You can catch them live in Statesboro:

Sincision – Statesboro, GA Metal

Enterprise Earth – Spokone, WA Deathcore

Awaken The Dawn – Savannah, GA Deathcore

Fishtooth – Savannah, GA Metal

Wednesday, September 9, 2015 @ Bigshow’s.
200 Lanier Dr. Statesboro, GA.

All Ages. $5. 7:00 PM.
More info at www.coastalrocksavannah.com

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Oh no, this is a serious read. No snarky comments or album reviews. Just real talk. Prepare yourself.

Justin Lowe was the guitarist for the popular metal band After The Burial. Lowe had a paranoid breakdown earlier this year, where he had woven an elaborate conspiracy against him, that involved his record label, friends, family and band mates. He stated that the people that were after him were “above law enforcement” and that some unknown entity wanted him dead. After his bout of psychosis, he moved back to Wisconsin with his family, and began undergoing treatment. Unfortunately, he was found dead on July 21 on a hiking path, with injuries consistent with a fall….or possibly a jump. We will never know what happened for sure in his final hours. Conspiracy theorists out there of course have their own opinions, but the reality of the situation is probably that he killed himself.  It has been insinuated that he was previously on meds, but quit taking them. Justin was only 32. We lost a great musician to something that may have been preventable.

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Mental Illness is a real problem, although it is often not treated that way. I feel like Im coming out of the closet or something… but I also suffer from problems. That’s why Justin’s story hit me so hard. I keep it pretty hush hush, but that’s what a lot of us do. This is extremely bad behavior that usually leads you to a path of isolation. In the therapy world, that is a huge no-no. Isolation, and hiding your illness only sends you down a lonely path.

I have OCD ( not the funny, “Im going to clean your house” joke of what OCD is) and from that OCD stems panic attacks and bouts of unreality. The disassociative feeling of unreality can almost be like an out-of-body experience. You feel like nothing is real, you are confused and completely impaired. Youre dizzy, you lose motor skills. These bouts can go on for minutes or hours. For over a year, I believed that it was something physiological. I have had every test in the books, and all have came out normal for my physical body. Physically, Im healthy as a horse. I absolutely denied the idea of having any mental issues. I didn’t want to be medicated. But I have weaned off of meds twice now and both to the same effect..constant obsessive thoughts and panic attacks. I still don’t understand the ins and outs of the disease. I still have a hard time accepting what has happened to me. I hate it. I hate that my body and mind have turned against me. I feel weak.

The wrong medications can send me into a psychosis, and the whole thing has made me seem like a hypochondriac. Ive missed work and social functions.  And unmedicated….I can barely leave the house. On a good day, it sucks. On a bad day, it’s a full-on nightmare.

Most music I write now, is about this struggle with myself.

But as I said, it can be hard to get help. It is even harder to get the RIGHT help. If you know someone who is suffering, but you don’t have any issues yourself, you would be surprised at the amount of bullshit you have to face when it comes to our healthcare system and society. Lets point a few of those out:

1. It is hard to get help, and get people to take you seriously.

Your general practitioner isn’t equipped to handle mental issues. If you go to the ER, they treat your acute symptoms and send you home. An appointment for a psychiatrist can be set up, but as a new patient, it could take months to get down to the bottom of the issue. Most doctors are willing to write you off pretty quick, and some even have the nerve to decide you are faking. Especially with panic attacks, which are controlled by benzodiazapines like Xanax and Klonopin. Both are popular for being used in recreation and abuse. Unfortunately, these drugs are they only thing that are going to help you in some cases. My personal case is extreme, and I have to have specific meds. It has been over a year, and I am still trying new things all the time to subside my symptoms.

Just about the only way to get help from a hospital is to get a “10-13”, which is basically telling the doctor that you are suicidal. They then will send you to a mental facility that will began some treatment. The typical stay is 5-7 days at these facilities, and while you may get better, it could also make you worse. But then again, this isnt a magic bullet. Psychiatry is roulette when it comes to meds. You try one thing, and if it doesn’t work, you try another. All the while, you suffer from your symptoms-sometimes made worse by new medications. It’s easy for desperation to set in, and the light at the end of the tunnel disappears.

When that desperation sets in, youll do anything to try and find an answer or to find help. Most people with mental illness have multiple trips to doctors and the Emergency room. Once again, what seems irrational to you, is reality to someone else.

2. You learn who really cares about you.

Of course, once stricken with illness, you become very selfish. You want to get better. It becomes the “me show” for a while. It’s not because you cant understand what your friends and loved ones are going through, you just cant handle it. You cant deal with any other problems. Having a solid support system is invaluable. But even still, they will have a tough time understanding what you are going through. They can get frustrated when they cant “fix you”. They can get frustrated at your irrational actions. But these actions arent irrational to you. The things Justin Lowe said and did seem insane, and he was mocked when it broke on the internet (his manifesto). But that wasn’t irrational to him at all. That was reality for him. That’s the thing that your family and friends will not understand…your augmented reality. They cannot possibly put themselves into the frame of your psychosis. It’s not like having the flu, where your family and friends can sympathize. They know what it’s like to have the flu. They dont know what a psychotic episode feels like.

It’s easy to get frustrated with someone with an illness you cant understand. But if you are a friend or family member of someone who has even a minor issue, know how important you are to their stability.

3. Mental illness is often not treated as an illness.

People realize when you have a disease, that there isnt much you can do about it. Let’s take cancer for example. You have cancer, and there’s nothing you can do but be treated, and be supported.Or when you have an infection. You can take your pain meds and get better over time. But since mental illness isnt a tangible thing like cancer or infections, it isn’t treated the same way. Mental illness is a disease. It’s chemical. The same as any other sickness. Addiction is often treated with stigma as well. Mental illness and addiction can often be viewed as weakness, a lack of will power. I assure you, it’s not. Some of the people I have met in group therapy are the strongest individuals I have ever met. Even the people that relapse in addiction. Or the people that live without mental issues for years, and suddenly they come back. These people are strong, because they recognize they have a problem, and are willing to take steps to get better.

4. ” I hope you can get back to being your old self again soon”

You hear this a lot. Everyone in my therapy group has heard this at least once. The fact is, there is no “old you” to go back to anymore. You have been changed forever by your illness. The trauma has changed you. The illness has changed you. The best anyone can hope for is to be “better”. The old you is gone, and friends and family have to understand this. But more importantly, YOU have to understand this. You have to live with the reality that you may be medicated forever. You have to realize that if youre and addict, then you are forever. You brain chemistry is changed. It is an unrealistic goal to think that you will one day be “just like you used to be”. Never pressure someone with an illness with saying something like this.

5. Now that you’re crazy…..

You get treated differently at the doctor’s office. Once you have mental illness on your chart, any time you come in with a pain issue, or another physiological issue you may get wrote off quickly. The doctors may chalk it up to your mental illness or addiction. You can always go in and lie….say that you are no longer on psych meds. But then you may be prescribed something that reacts to your meds, and now your in a whole different type of hell. People treat you differently too. Sometimes, they don’t really see that they are treating you differently, but they are. It’s a stigma you will have to deal with, but the only thing you can do is be assertive, and vigilant.

6. Self Medicating

I have ran into plenty of people that do this. They use alcohol, pot, black market script pills…anything they can get their hands on. This is an awful idea. It’s easy to fall into this routine of abuse, because in the short term, it DOES make you feel better. But it doesn’t address the issues you may have, only therapy and a doctor’s diagnosis can do that. Self medication also comes from the first thing I mentioned in this article. Its hard to get help. But you are fighting fire with fire when you self medicate. You probably make your symptoms worse.

None of this is easy. Not for you, or the people around you. But I hope this article can raise awareness. Both to the afflicted and to the people that are close to them.