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The Body - Christs, Redeemers (Album Review)

Friday, 11 October 2013 Written by Ben Bland

It’s an appropriate time for a new record from the Body. The Rhode Island sludge duo’s work is lined with clouds of sonic misanthropy and carries the full sonic weight of a musical lineage that can be traced back to the unrelenting doom of Crowbar, as well as the more expansive sounds of Neurosis. It’s also messed up, seriously so.

This is pained, and indeed painful, music in every way and it’s appropriate that it arrives in a year as messed up as 2013. In fact, somewhat presciently, it’s even turned up at the very time the US government has entered meltdown once again due to the crackpot ramblings of a select few elected individuals.

Opening with the misleadingly tranquil I, The Mourner Of Perished Days, ‘Christs, Redeemers’ is the most complete and unforgiving representation of the Body’s musical aesthetic to date. Unafraid of experimentation, yet equally unafraid of taking the more direct approach of bludgeoning listeners to oblivion with riffs the size of a minor planet, this is both their most diverse and most straightforward release to date.

Larynx-murdering vocals sit alongside string drones and punishingly brutal guitar work, while the occasional venture into interlude territory (replete with gorgeous guest vocals from the Assembly of Light choir) suspends the listener in ‘calm before the storm’ mode. You know what’s coming, but that doesn’t make the wait any easier.

Ultimately, the real success of ‘Christs, Redeemers’ lies in its status as a progression from the Body’s previous work. The ‘Master, We Perish’ EP earlier this year hinted at a more freeform approach, without necessarily clarifying its position, but that’s certainly not a problem here. While the song structuring feels more natural compared to the occasional stilted moments that spoiled ‘All the Waters Of The Earth Turn To Blood’, it also feels more thought through. It’s clear that the Body have taken their time here, and the result is an album that manages to incorporate not only all their bile but also all their vast talent.

The closing triumvirate of tracks demonstrate just how far theyhave come. As powerful a trio of songs as has been released on record this year, the scouring noise of middle track Shrouded is bookended by moments of strange beauty as the sheer power of this band at their most unforgiving is transformed into something almost post-apocalyptic in its effectiveness.

Looking around as Bearer Of Bad Tidings fades into nothingness you could be forgiven for half expecting to see a scorched, scarred landscape in the wake of recent destruction, such is the impact of a record so overflowing with genuine anger. Heavy music seems to be becoming ever more divided between bands that are merely “impressive” and bands that are meaningful. Listeners looking for the latter certainly cannot afford to miss out on ‘Christs, Redeemers’.

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