PICK OF THE WEEK: The Body give glimpse of Armageddon on terrifying ‘Christs, Redeemers’

the bodyYou always read about people saying records are the “soundtrack to the Apocalypse” or doomsday taking music form, and it’s simply a way to easily convey the destructive nature and pure hell contained inside a collection of songs that rise above a normal level of terror.

We’re all guilty of this association, myself included. But it really can’t be used anymore past today, because finally a record that perfectly personifies that description, that ideally conveys the Earth crumbling in on itself, and humanity being crushed into oblivion has arrived. The Body’s new album “Christs, Redeemers” is as black, as dark, as frightening as it gets. Tons of bands make tumultuous musical statements seemingly every week, but they’re going to be hard pressed to out-doom what The Body accomplish on this 10-track, 50-minute slab of horror. Every moment drips with violent drama and end-of-the-world chaos, and this record is one of the most frightening documents I’ve ever heard. Ever.

body coverThe Body always have had a black grasp on the morose and the end of existence. Each of their records–“Christs” is their fourth long player–has built on this subject, and they have become less and less human in their expression of the snuffing out of all things. Add to that that these two guys–guitarist/vocalist Chip King, drummer Lee Buford–also use ghostly imagery, the kind of thing that should make you sleep with the light on at night for fear such apparitions could appear on your wall on in the corner of your room. That, along with their sound, identify and poke all of those great, dark fears lurking beneath you and expose them for you to see and face, even if you don’t want to do that. Who wants to face their destruction? Who wants to see the world ripped apart by weapons or people or demons? No one, as it is most people’s greatest fear, and The Body roll and cover their bodies with the soot of such emotions.

Over time, The Body’s sound also has grown and become uglier, yet more beautiful at the same time. Their horrific, damaged doom has only gotten meatier and more nuanced, turning all the blood of the world black, but their association with the Assembly of Light Choir has added an angelic element to their filth, a collection of sirens to call you toward your destruction. Yes, the sounds they make are gorgeous, but they’re also unsettling, making you realize just after the sense of ease settles in that you’ve been fooled and they have sharp teeth. There’s also the matter of King’s inhuman banshee shriek of a voice, something that rattles and irritates some listeners but that sounds like no one else’s in any form of music. It is the sound of pain, human suffering, and demonic possession, and its shrill knife’s edge can carve its way through your mind and into your soul.

You’re not exactly eased into this record as a chill is sure to hit your blood from the start. “I, the Mourner of Perished Days” feels like a nightmare state, with noise, fuzz, and Chrissy Wolpert opening the tale with her haunting voice, backed by Reba Mitchell. As the frightening buzzing subsides, it leads into “To Attempt Openness,” where the Assembly choir kicks in full amid drone and swirling keyboards. The song eventually blows open, with King howling and shrieking away, and Buford’s drums obliterating and practically taking over the proceedings. It’s not exactly a moment of ease and kindness. “Melt Away” has more ringing keys, calls from the choir, and drums that seem to echo into time, with the band hitting a slow-driving tempo and the vocals carving a road to hell. “An Altar or a Grave” lurches slowly and painfully, with more buzzing noise spilling in like a swarm of giant hornets and a swell of strings proving added texture. The song’s an absolute monster, even the parts that feel more delicate. “Failure to Desire to Communicate” changes the pace as it kicks up the tempo and is heavy and ear-drubbing heavy. The song is loud and thick, the vocals sound like they come from a place of panic, and the track delivers a storm of psychological damage.

“Night of Blood in a World Without End” has Wolpert returning along with cascading strings and corrosion like it’s pouring out of a bitter, old battery. “Prayers Unanswered” is sweaty, muddy, and mean, with Buford’s drums detonating worlds, static spilling in again, the harsh shrieks hitting new levels of fear, and the conclusion sounding like a warped carnival. “Denial of the Species” has drone so thick it could make the great pioneers of doom choke hard, with watery eyes and pools of saliva. Synth boils, King’s vocals hiss with venom, and the strings wail and moan in the night. “Shrouded,” while not really an interlude, is more like the stage setter for the conclusion, as the song is full of white noise and bizarre beats. Closer “Bearer of Bad Tidings” heads right into a cloud of alien noise, more chaos, and squeaking, sharp noises, making you feel like you left the planet, or at least your body. Buford’s drums are like a machine, distributing slaughter and helping drive the doom assault that is ripping open the seal for Armageddon. Feedback bursts, King spits his last, and crust-crushing thunder brings that song and this ferocious record to a fitting end.

Truly, truly “Christs, Redeemers” is the soundtrack to the end of the world. There, I said it again, but I’ll try to say it no more until another record comes along as terrifying and existence-scorching as this one. You’ll stay awake at night grappling with your worst nightmares, you’ll see long-dead souls on your ceilings, and you’ll wonder when the terror will stop. This record’s that massive and tortuous, and your psyche is sure to be damaged once this record becomes a part of your DNA. Rest peacefully for now, because it sounds like the world’s annihilation isn’t going to a pretty, if The Body’s visions are correct.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/the-body/334047229514

To buy the album, go here: http://thrilljockey.com/thrill/The-Body/Christs-Redeemers#.UlYOsFCTiSp

For more on the label, go here: http://thrilljockey.com/