Review: “Clouded Minds & Silver Lines” by Sertraline

Originally hailing from Stoke-on-Trent and now split between Leeds and Manchester, Progressive Tech-Metallers Sertraline have been ploughing a furrow in the Metal underground scene since the summer of 2014. After a hugely successful Kick Starter campaign to fund their initial merch drop which met 122% of its projected target, we finally have the fruits of their labors in third studio EP “Clouded Minds & Silver Lines” after a pair of singles in “Inside Out” and “Isolate” which show off not only the bands talent but also some growth. Vocalist Lizzie Parry commented: “Following the release of ‘Relapse’, the path was set and our musical direction was clear. ‘Clouded Minds & Silver Lines’ reflects our wide range of influences, captures the energy of our live performance and shows how far we’ve come musically over the years. It’s the most challenging material we’ve produced, but with that comes a lot of fun! We’re so proud of what we have achieved. Apologies to Tom’s neighbours who had to endure our practices, writing sessions and demo recordings”.

A DJent laden punch of the rhythm guitars coupled with the mesmerizing lead work that underpins it gets “Inside Out” off to a groove filled start with a satisfying crunch. Lizzie Parry plays both beauty and the beast when it comes to the vocals, her unclean banshee roar balanced off by some achingly beautiful cleans and the vocal layering which sees both combined for fleeting moments genuinely gives the impression of either two vocalists or a split personality. As with the best of the genre, musically Sertraline find the perfect balance between the harmony of the melodic aspects and the power house rhythmic aspects which are, as with the vocals in perfect bi-polar contrast. It becomes apparent as “Mean to Me II” kicks in that the mixing and mastering of “Clouded Minds & Silver Lines” is of a superior quality. Each aspect of the bands sound is given equal footing and on each repeated listen the nuances appear, missed on the previous time around with the jaw dropping awe at some of the other impressive moments. Bissecting Reflections and Periphery perfectly with a Black Metal inspired blast beat section and a couple of ripping guitar squeals on this one, it seems they have found not only their signature sound but also their comfort zone and the quality in the musicianship is inspiring.

Inside the lyrical fold there is a fair amount of anguish and struggle which is reflected in the title of the EP and “2205” aka “Clouded Minds” begs for the negativity not be let in with sing-a-long lines like “Don’t let them in, Our hearts forbid their victory, Won’t let them win, Hate will never be the death of me“, which are deeper than an Ocean while avoiding the introspection of Nu-Metal. This one comes complete with a ripper of a solo which you might not expect from the genre but is blended seamlessly into and out of in slick style. Dropping a little bit of the DJent out and applying a more Metalcore inspired staccato riff to the synth backed introduction to “Screaming For Sleep” before bringing it back for the verse is a master stroke when it comes to a change up and vocally the power of the bright cleans are something special. The track lyrically is an insight into insomnia often found in those suffering from anxiety or depression and something easily relatable. Adrenaline fueled complexities in the guitar parts continue into “Isolation“, which sees Parry draw out some of her words before a serious of headbangable semi-breakdown drops hit like rapid fire middle weight punches and they somehow manage to shoehorn in a solo. If it wasn’t already obvious, Sertraline are the best kept secret in the Underground Metal scene and in “Clouded Minds & Silver Lines“, they are launching their message in a bottle, which sounds very much like a brick through your front window. This is their time [8.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Inside Out
  2. Mean to Me II
  3. 2205
  4. Screaming For Sleep
  5. Isolation

Clouded Minds & Silver Lines” by Sertraline is out 15th May with pre-orders available here

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