There are many bands that have special meaning to us here at Meat Mead Metal, and one of those is Rhode Island doom duo The Body, one of the most destructive, perplexing bands on the planet. That’s probably obvious to anyone who regularly visits these pages, because we try to write up everything the band does, and they’ve yet to put out a record that doesn’t resonate.
But there’s more to The Body, and their appeal to me, especially, other than their titanic music that’s unbelievably harsh and terrifying. It’s how they express themselves. Guitarist/vocalist Chip King and drummer Lee Buford have been building on their sludgy doom base for well over a decade now, and they always find a way to dig up the darkest, bleakest, most hopeless of emotions and give them fiery life. These are the things we often don’t want to identify that live within ourselves, but they’re there. Any time I feel that way, I generally go to The Body’s music because they always humanize the tumult and anxiety that resides within me, and instead of pretending it isn’t there, I slip into the band’s music to let those things out. I find it healthy, even if I don’t always come away feeling better.
The Body have been pretty busy the past couple years, putting out a great EP “Master, We Perish” last year and following that with their incredible full-length “Christs, Redeemers” that was released by Thrill Jockey and took their mission to an even crazier place. It was one of my favorite records of last year, and it scares the living hell out of my wife. This year, we already have two new releases from the band, one that finds them working with one of music’s more daring producers to create something unlike anything in their category. The other is a collaboration with another amazing doom band that also is a longtime favorite of this site and is a precursor to one of the most anticipated live performances of the year.
We’ll start off with “I Shall Die Here,” being released by RVNG Intl., a great label you should check out right now if you really need to be challenged. This one finds King and Buford working with Bobby Krilic (The Haxan Cloak), who adds a heavy electronic element to the band’s sound, but without compromising an ounce of their heaviness and terror. In fact, Krilic enhances the band’s approach and gives you a completely different look into their damaged psyches, showing just how much depth, creativity, and madness is contained inside these artists.
The six-cut, 40-minute record kicks off with “To Carry the Seeds of Death Within Me,” that begins with slow-driving, deliberate drumming, King’s unmistakable shrieks, and noise pulsating and bathing everything with dark energy. Things eventually sound like they slip deep underwater, where it is nearly impossible to make contact, and the song bleeds out in complete horror. “Alone All the Way” might really shake you up if you’re not of healthy mind. Clips are used from the documentary “The Suicide Tourist,” as they are weaved throughout the song, and considering the subject matter (the film is worth seeing, and it will leave you never feeling the same), it’s a heavy journey. Drums echo and bounce off walls, shrieks turn your stomach and show you true trauma, the tempo builds and clobbers you, and the electronic blips and hisses give the song an alien feel. It’s an unsettling dose of pure pain. “The Night Knows No Dawn” has a slathering, doomy opening like it’s paying some homage to Black Sabbath, with keys trickling like a nightmare, noise offering freezing sentiments, and everything being swallowed by a storm of insects. Or so it seems.
“Hail to Thee, Everlasting Pain” brings back more from “The Suicide Tourist,” so instantly you’ll know just how hopeless and dark this is. There is an assault of electronic beats and sizzling, grisly shouts that sound animalistic and fearsome, and metallic chaos that feels like worlds falling apart and collapsing into themselves. “Our Souls Were Clean” has a thick synth haze, with mechanical keys, spacey intoxication, and more beefy doom riffs that are lumbering and devastating. The vocals sound intent on choking out everything in front of them, and the finish has the song dissolving into suffocating noise. Closer “Darkness Surrounds Us” runs 9:11 (a coincidence, I’m sure) and begins with the reading of apocalyptic, tortured poetry that ends with poking “to the fact that God did not save.” From there, eerie noises fold into piercing strings that whine, buzzing doom riffs, blistering static, and more violence designed to finish you off. The close is loud and abrasive, and King gets his last horrifying shrieks in before everything burns to hell. This is an amazing document.
To buy the album, go here: http://igetrvng.com/shop/category/all/
For more on the label, go here: http://igetrvng.com/
Up next is The Body working alongside the great Thou, whose new record “Heathen” is one of the finest of the year. These two bands will be touring together this summer, all culminating in a collaborative set at the second Gilead Fest, July 18-20 (they play together the first night of the fest. Get more info here: http://www.gileadmedia.net/fest/). But before we get there, we have “Released From Love,” a vinyl-only release being put out by Vinyl Rites that gives you a glimpse into what these two mighty beasts can do together. And when they combine forces, it’s pretty magical.
The record is four tracks, nearly 22 minutes, with one of the most interesting cover songs you’ll hear in the metal realm included at the end. We open with “The Wheel Weaves As the Wheel Wills,” a song that’s already intriguing from the title, and then it opens into super thick riffs, Thou vocalist Bryan Funck howling his diatribes, punishing drums erupting, and King joining the fray with his crazed shrieks. It truly sounds like the two forces melded together, with one not outshining the other and instead giving room for full effect. Toward the end, the pace really kicks up sand steamrolls forward. “Manifest Alchemy” follows, with that Sabbath influence rearing its head, static-filled drums, and Funck taking command again. The final moments are drenched in noise and fury, with chaos reining supreme. “In Meeting Hearts Beat Closer” is disarmingly melodic, and it’s the one where I wonder if Thou didn’t push the pace a little more as it sounds of their headspace. The song has a very different texture musically, with Funck and King doing what they do over top, and it’s equally vicious and mesmerizing. The closing cover of Vic Chesnutt classic “Coward” is a great choice, as both bands have a tendency to wallow in negativity, and hearing King and Funck interpret the words is something to behold. It’s also interesting how each band plays the song as if Chestnutt’s work is in their collective DNA, and hey, who is to say it isn’t? This is an amazing track, one that shows the real promise of these bands collaborating further.
The Body’s journey has been an interesting, twisting, scarred one, and each chapter brings something new to the doom world we’ve not encountered before. These two recordings are more than enough to tide us over for a couple years, but my guess is they’ll be back sooner than later to burn our psyches to the ground all over again.
For more on The Body, go here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/the-body/334047229514
For more on Thou, go here: http://noladiy.org/thou/
To buy the album, go here: http://www.vinylrites.bigcartel.com/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.vinylrites.net/