This record hurts. When it comes to The Body, there's always been a relative severity and towering presence about their output. Even 2016's No One Deserves Happiness, which was The Body's attempt at modifying their idiom to fit into a more electrified, "pop-styled" motif, sticks to an expected level of caustic power. Through multiple collaborations and stylistic experiments, The Body remains consistent.
The doom-metal duo the Body have rarely been only those things. Sure, for the past decade, guitarist Chip King and drummer Lee Buford have practically oozed plangent distortion and martial rhythms, doom criteria as conclusive as any. Glance, though, beneath their hostile surface or inside their loaded rests, where they stuff eerie choirs and corrosive electronics, grinding samples and unnerving jump cuts.
Even without counting the Body's plethora of collaborative efforts, much of this Rhode Island duo's output has a stacked guest list. The most memorable moments of the band's 22-year career wouldn't exist without guitarist/vocalist Chip King and drummer/programmer Lee Buford joining forces with talents such as Lingua Ignota and the Assembly of Light Choir. The Body's penchant for exploration and collaboration makes their return to primitive sludge metal note-worthy in and of itself -- but that's only one facet of I've Seen All I Need to See.
Photo by Zachary Harrell Jones I've Seen All I Need To See by the body The last minutes of the Body's previous (and excellent) LP I Have Fought Against It, But I Can't Any Longer (2018) were dominated by a man's baritone voice, reciting a long, despairing passage from Bohumil Hrabal's Total Fears: Selected Letters to Dubenka (1998). That voice is back, ominously intoning at the outset of the Body's new record I've Seen All I Need to See, and things haven't gotten much happier. Still in recitation mode, the voice now gives a profound and pained performance of Douglas Dunn's poem "The Kaleidoscope" (1985), taken from the Scottish poet's widely admired cycle of elegies for his dead wife.