(NOTE: This review was written and posted before Monday’s horrible attack in Boston. I would hate to seem insensitive and be accused of building off tragedy considering some of the material below, and I do not wish to glorify anything that took place. I tried to clean it up a bit. It’s just a really bad coincidence. Godspeed to everyone affected. Meat Mead Metal loves you.)
The end of existence, be it one’s own or the planet’s, is something that has been running through heavy metal lore since the beginning. These are dark arts, after all, and the expression and visualization of dread and destruction runs hand in hand with the genre’s sound. It’s just kind of something we do around here.
But for as many bands that write about such a dark, yet inevitable subjects, how many of them sound like they embody the very destruction on which they’re centered? Not too many, if we’re being honest. That doesn’t mean a band’s message isn’t worth your attention or interest if the band’s doesn’t resemble the four horsemen riding across the Earth, but it sure helps aesthetically if the artists at least sound like they envisioned lands being ripped apart and seas filling with blood during their creative process.
That’s why a band like The Body blows me away. It’s two guys — guitarist/vocalist Chip King and drummer Lee Buford — yet they make enough unholy racket to make up for five bands with five members each. They’re loud, explosive, quaking, and that’s just describing their records. Witnessing this machine live could mean the end of decent hearing for you for the rest of your life, and you might find you’re so overwhelmed with sound that you’re ready to unload the contents of your stomach onto the floor. Their power and majesty are humbling before you realize the darkness they’re spreading lyrically. It’s a tunnel to hell or the end or to madness, whatever is your greatest fear, and they never cease to level the shit out of everything in front of them.
The band’s latest effort “Master, We Perish,” is a three-track EP containing some of their headiest work. The duo’s brand of sludging doom remains firmly intact, but this collection also finds them expanding their headspace more than ever, delving deep into atmosphere and space, and while the violence we’ve come to expect from The Body is here, it’s delivered in such a disarming way that you never quite know when the blow is coming. But you know it’s near, and waiting for it is half the fun/dread. Joining the band to add their voices to the fury are Leslie Weitz (Otesanek), Chrissy Wolpert (of the wonderful Assembly of Light Choir), and Reba Mitchell (Whore Paint) to add their heavenly contributions.
“The Ebb and Flow of Tide in a Sea of Ash” opens the record with terrifying war sirens, muddy, chugging guitars, and mobilization forward, giving you almost no time to take cover. King delivers otherworldly growls and shrieks that should shake you to your core, and this abrasive assault ends with what sounds like industrial hammering, soot, and smoke. “The Blessed Lay Down and Writhe in Agony” have some of those choral contributions and make it feel like your soul is escaping from your body, and with samples of people talking about despair and a sense of complete dread rushing through, the feeling of hopelessness is unavoidable. The song seems fit to stay in its middle tempo and build clouds and pockets of fog until a shot is heard and the song opens into full-blown demolition.
Closer “Worship” opens with tribal drumming, chaos, and swirling voices, as the madness encircles and shakes you from the inside out. Buford’s drumming is the main attraction of this song, and he just pulverizes his kit, while King’s guitar work hangs in the air like a menacing atmosphere, humming and buzzing, acting like a poison fog. Everything builds to an eerie finish full of strange effects and static-filled drumming that melts away with the threat to return when you least expect it. Thanks for scaring the shit out of us, the Body.
This band remains one of the darkest, loudest bands on Earth, and even a mini effort from a duo like this one is enough to pack a power punch to your face. These two guys are not capable of delicate and gentle, and if you’re not prepared for outright carnage and unimaginable mental suffering, then you might not be ready for this band. If you are and you can handle it, you’re going to have a fuck load of fun torturing yourself for days on end with noise that knows no mercy.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/the-body/334047229514
To buy the album (out April 30), go here: http://www.bluecollardistro.com/atalossrecordings/categories.php?cPath=719
For more on the label, go here: http://www.atalossrecordings.com/