The Body are outsiders in metal, a world obsessed with subgenres that doesn't always take kindly to those daring to colour outside the lines. Bassist and vocalist Chip King and drummer Lee Buford, both based in Portland, flirted with avant-garde structures on last year's stunning EP Master, We Perish and then tipped over into excess with its full-length follow-up, Christs, Redeemers, which came with a string section and vocal choir. As a result they've found themselves on labels like Thrill Jockey rather than traditional metal outlets, and their latest home is RVNG INTL, which might seem unusual for music so primal and unhinged.
In his plan of hell, Dante places suicides in the second ring of the seventh circle — the circle of violence. Here, harpies nest among the gnarled thorn trees that incarcerate the souls of those dead by their own hand. As the harpies feed on the leaves of these hapless trees, a fresh, inescapable agony shoots through the souls’ new-found bodies.
Though doom metal has come to be associated with punishing, high-decibel amp worship, its roots lie more in the feeling it evokes than any sound. It instills the listener with a sense of dread and despair, finding our deepest and most primal fears and jabbing at them until there's nothing left to do but relent and be crushed by the music's glacial heaviness. With I Shall Die Here, experimental doom duo the Body explore the genre with a whole new tool set, pulling together sounds from the noise world to create an album of dark, panic-inducing sonic madness.
Genre boundaries mean nothing to the Body, who celebrate 15 years in the business with their most audacious statement to date in I Shall Die Here. The band, now based in Portland, Oregon after years spent in Providence, Rhode Island, take doom metal as their core template and shred it to pieces until it's completely unrecognizable. The band, a two-piece of drummer Lee Buford and guitarist/singer Chip King, plus longstanding studio collaborators Seth Manchester and Keith Souza, clearly felt something needed to change after their 2013 album, Christs, Redeemers.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. It's perhaps fitting that The Body make some of the most physical music around. The sounds they create aren't puny vibrations of air, but huge pummelling blasts of noise that can shatter windows and reanimate the dead - at least that's the impression left by their latest record, I Shall Die Here. What awaits the listener is a brutal record that operates very much in the low-end of the aural spectrum.
The Body — I Shall Die Here (RVNG Intl)I Shall Die Here sits at the confluence of different genres without ever sounding confused, incoherent or ill-defined. Quite the opposite in fact: these six tracks are as solid as a boulder slamming relentlessly towards you down a mountain side. I Shall Die Here is, put simply, the most brutal and unforgiving album released in many a year, one whose sheer extremism even puts most black metal to shame.And it is a metal album at heart, but drummer Lee Buford and singer/guitarist Chip King made the bold move to pitch their traditional-sounding heavy doom into a black hole of new found textures, turning in the process to The Haxan Cloak’s Bobby Krlic.
Founded in 1999 in Providence, Rhode Island, The Body have carved out a niche at the artier, ultra-extreme end of contemporary metal, their blend of churning sludge instrumentation and hysterically shrieked vocals comparable to Stephen O’Malley’s early ‘00s group Khanate. The Body, however, have appeared set on pushing boundaries: their highly recommended 2011 album All The Waters Of The Earth Turn To Blood employed the 24-voice Assembly Of Light choir, and drew influence from doomsday prophets such as Charles Manson, Jim Jones, and Shoko Asahara of the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo. The aim, vocalist/guitarist Chip King told me around the album’s release, was to “contrast beauty and ugliness… to present a vision of a flawed world.