3/26/17 – The Body “I Shall Die Here” (2014)

The Body is an Avant-garde Doom/Sludge metal duo that I’ve been following since I listened to this album in 2014. Their sound has much more in common with noise or experimental metal than more traditional sludge bands. Their vocals are very unique, in the fact that I didn’t know they were the vocals when I started listening to the first song. Chip King has a shrill scream that must be digitally altered or something, it’s just so unnatural. It’s hard to describe but it’s unmistakable on some of their collaboration projects.

I Shall Die Here is brutal, cold, suffocating, and cruel. The guitars are heavily distorted and loud, often just tools to make noise, and the drums seem more like metallic growls than someone playing on a kit. Three of the tracks open with vocal samples, two of them being about suicide, and the last one sounding like a suicide note… that alone should tell you if you think you’ll enjoy this or not. The Body are not interested in being accessible, even by Metal/Sludge/Doom fans (given the sour reception on some of their collabs), and I think that’s admirable. This can be a very polarizing album, and one I think a number of people won’t give much time to. The vocals can be very off-putting, but for some reason I love them, and have ever since the first listen.

Alone All the Way is a good example of their sound, featuring the simple and powerfully emotive drums by Lee Buford, and Chip King’s vocals howling in the background. It morphs into a slimy synthetic beat, and then the two are mixed in the finale where Lee Buford’s drumming gets louder and faster as the noise slowly creeps in behind it… just absolutely fantastic stuff. It’s a bit of an understatement to say they “set the mood well” or are “atmospheric”, when it feels like that’s the backbone of their sound.

Hail To Thee, Everlasting Pain is their most electronic song, and at times reminds me of the band Raime. Chip King’s screams sound more natural at times, and meanwhile there’s this thumping, dystopian synth in the background that somehow fits perfectly with the rest of their sound. Sour Souls Were Clean follows up this idea with more grimy synths that pulse and drive the track, along with the closest thing to a guitar riff on the album. These two tracks are when The Body is at their most hypnotizing, and their placement in the album is well fit.

The previous 5 tracks start out pretty explosively, but Darkness Surrounds Us builds up very slowly, ramping up the tension until the inevitable cataclysm crashes in. All of the songs on this album are very atmospheric, but this takes the cake and it’s why I love this band. If you were interested in this band, I would absolutely recommend going back and listening to their discography in chronological order. They start out much more traditionally and evolve to this point of warped Noise/Doom Metal. After this first listen I was excited to go back and was somewhat let down with how less abrasive their past albums were, but that’s just given me hope for their new projects down the line.