The Body keep mauling sound, smearing soul-killing despair with ‘I Have Fought Against It…’

Photo by Sam Gehrke

I don’t know what the end of the world is going to look and/or sound like? I honestly hope I never find out. But if there was a way to soundtrack that event, I’m pretty sure it would be unnerving and like no horror we’ve ever experienced before.

I say this because my own vision of the end would be created by crazed doom duo The Body, one of the most bizarre and challenging bands on the entire planet. They have a sound, but they don’t. They are entrenched into a certain mindset, but they have no problem veering away from that. The past few years, they’ve worked to completely undo what most people think of the band, and that continues on their new record “I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer,” a line taken from Virginia Woolf’s suicide letter. That should indicate what you’re up against, which is sadness, despair, loneliness, and an emotional black hole that’s impossible to fill. The duo of guitarist/vocalist Chip King and drummer Lee Buford bring along contributors such as longtime collaborator Chrissy Wolpert (Assembly of Light Choir), Ben Eberle (Sandworm), Kristin Hayter (Lingua Ignota), and Michael Berdan (Uniform), and they build these songs with their collection of samples, rather than go the traditional route of composition. It makes for the most jagged, haze inducing effort of their entire run, and it’s one that might take a few visits to fully absorb.

“The Last Form of Loving” starts the record with weirdness and synth floating, as Wolpert’s ethereal voice mixes into the dreamscape and puts your mind into an altered state. “Can Carry No Weight” is eerie, with strange beats pounding, and King’s unmistakable shriek ripping away at you. Hayter’s singing snakes through that chaos, making the whole thing feel like a nightmare fever dream before fading out. “Party Alive” has a rush of sound that meets up with drums encircling and King’s shrieks mauling. Everything swirls like a tornado, weird doom horns cut through, guitars choke the air, and voices twist and strangle on their way out. The track goes into psyche panic, as sounds rush and pulsate. “The West Has Failed” works in samples of Eek-a-Mouse while King’s howls rub your face in gravel, and weird singing cuts through that and brings back harsh reality. “Nothing Stirs” has static-driven beats, guitars pushing into the murk, as Hayter calls, “When your love is gone, what is left?” Her voice soars before it devolves into corroded hell, with her wailing, “March on,” as if her capacity for hope is dissolving right in front of you.

“Off Script” has beats bouncing, echoes reverberating, and wild growls and cries mixing together. A weird, demonic stretch haunts your core, while the dramatic vision bleeds away. “An Urn” has heavy noise interference, trudging playing, and a hip-hop feel to the drum work. Hayter’s growls of, “You have left, never to return,” register a death blow to the heart, while the intensity builds, and the pain becomes too much to behold. “Blessed Alone” has a thick wall of sound, Wolpert’s haunting singing spreading, and piano dripping blood. The dreamy singing and King’s vicious shrieks mix, adding beauty to ugliness, while the track burns away. “Sickly Heart of Sand” shimmers, with strange guitars and Hayter’s wrenching shrieks plastering. Berdan delivers hardcore-style, blunt shouts, as the noise stings, and the tidal wave of electricity bubbles away. Closer “Ten Times a Day, Every Day, a Stranger” is a heart-stopper, a track that initially floats in noise before all fades, and mere piano accompanies a reading of Bohumil Hrabal’s work from “Total Fears: Selected Letters to Dubenka,” a passage that reeks of love lost and emotional scars that turns a person in a living ghost. “I’ve reached the peak of emptiness, and everything hurts,” the narrator warbles, as he sees people pass him with purpose, where he has none. It’s a gutting, devastating end to a record that already did ample damage before this piece.

The heartbreak and emotional gutting The Body put you through on “I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer” is overwhelming and savage, and this is one of the most emotional things the duo ever has created, which is saying something. This isn’t straight-up doom the way most listeners expect, but it’s black, dark, and desperate as anything that sub-genre can offer. Everything here feels like the end of everything, and the result is an impenetrable black hole.

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