Ascending A Mountain of Heavy Light by The Body and Full of HellRelease date: November 17, 2017
Label: Thrill Jockey Records
The term “sure thing” is thrown around a lot. To me, The Body are a sure thing. Add anyone else you like to the Petri dish, there’s no one they haven’t produced gold with. Absolute fucking alchemists. If you like this one check out their previous collaboration.
‘Light Penetrates’ opens the album with a strange, high-frequency, flutter offering some light abrasion to the ears teasing the screams to come. The overall atmosphere of chaos is very endearing to me but, there are certain vocal parts I don’t really like, not because they’re unpleasant but because they withdraw me from the illusion of the song. The grip it has on me is lost because the scream doesn’t feel like a scream, it feels like a texture. Always something to be avoided with these vocal techniques; the feeling that you are witnessing a practised technique rather than a raw emotion is very destructive to the diegetic world of the song that we enter into when hitting play. The Body always takes this to its furthest extreme. The pain is very real. Though, every artist has moments of creation for art’s sake and my only issue with this album is that some of the vocals (regardless of who is performing them) divide me from the art and therefore, the artist.
‘Earth is a Cage’ and ‘The King Laid Bare’ continue the electronic exploration of the two bands into a brutal, synth driven brand of overwhelmingly bleak, electronic doom. ‘The King Laid Bare’ features the best of the gargantuan and relentless terror that has become iconic and synonymous with The Body and their collaborations over the years. Its ending is alluring and moreish like a drug. ‘Didn’t The Night End’ skates on the same edges of my scream barometer, this is probably the furthest I go into the monster sounds whilst still thinking something is fucking incredible. I wonder what The Body would sound like with Oathbreaker? That’d be a fucking great album.
The opening of ‘Our Love Conducted wth Shields Aloft’ reminded me of a track off NIN’s Not The Actual Events, I really like the percussion in this track. It’s fucking great, sounds like a baghead soloing in alleyway for a cheap can and a pack of crisps. Dingy and intense. Affliction, pain, savagery and strength, all working together. This kind of feels like my brain… Possible album highlight.
Another highlight of the album for me was the penultimate track, ‘Farewell, Man’. The drumming on this one is fucking absurdly good as well. This was the exact sort of thing I wanted from this album; unimaginable pain and terror serving as a euphonic experience. I feel how they feel and I feel like they feel how I feel. What else could you want from music than to be reintegrated into society through rediscovering empathy at the other end of a chasm of alienation? Our misery is what unites us, at least when you deal with something like this…and whilst that misery persists, this music a rare and essential medicine intimidating mental illness into hiding and unleashing a healthy catharsis.
Colossal toms pulverise the final track ‘I Did Not Want to Love You So’ into a rude awakening. The beating last for what feels like an eternity though, it’s merely minutes. The noise echoes, resonates and persists long after it’s over. Like trauma, The Body carries its horror with it in all it does and you count on them delivering on it again and again and again.