On Lingua Ignota’s new record “Caligula,” there’s a line on the song “IF THE POISON WON’T TAKE YOU, MY DOGS WILL,” where Kristin Hayter reaches out to Aileen Wuornos and sings a painfully stinging line, “Life is cruel, and time heals nothing.” It’s something worth considering, whether the passage of days and months and years does in fact heal us or if the wound is there forever, bleeding.
It’s a central point to “Everything That Dies Someday Comes Back,” the new collaborative effort between Uniform and The Body that wonders whether loss ever heals and if pain goes away. That concept also is borrowed from James Elroy’s 1996 work My Dark Places that posits that tragic loss never can be overcome, and the pain and suffering is there forever in some form. You’ll be forgiven if you don’t feel uplifted by that idea, but you should know that these two bands rarely, if ever, bring the sunshine, and it’s an idea worth examining, as uncomfortable as it may make us feel. The title of the album is lifted from Bruce Springsteen’s “Nebraska” album, specifically from the song “Atlantic City.” This effort follows the bands’ 2018 record “Mental Wounds Not Healing,” itself a famous lyric that can feel awful out of context, and here the two forces—Uniform is comprised of vocalist Michael Berdan and guitarist Ben Greenberg, while the Body is guitarist/vocalist Chip King and drummer Lee Buford—meld their fiery beings into one again with devastating results.
“Gallows in Heaven” lets noise settle in before things stir mechanically, beats are applied, and Berdan’s fiery shouts later are joined by King’s world-slicing shrieks. As the two voices combine, guitars unload, and the final moments are marred with damage. “Not Good Enough” bathes in static and electronics before wild howls from Berdan shake the foundation as he wails, “There’s nothing left to say when I’m dying on the vine again.” King’s shrieks deface everything, while the keys deliver mesmerizing numbness that floats to the end. “Vacancy” has synth warping and beats striking as King’s voice drills into cement, and an industrial fire engulfs the world. Underneath all of this is a catchy melody that snakes while the track keeps delivering blows. “Patron Saint of Regret” has speedy shouts delivered by Barden lacing overtop smoldering guitar work and a pace that keeps building. Angelic vocals float behind, making it feel like your soul is stuck between heaven and hell, as everything ends in a strange haze.
“Penance” sits in a synth bed as King goes off, Barden shouts from his guts, and the sound sickens. Strong riffs barrel through as mystical synth lines fall in sheets, fading into clouds. “All This Bleeding” has beats poking, cool guitars bringing chill, and static lapping over like waves, as the shrieks come tumbling down. Doomy solemnity and dark melodies merge, fading into a deep sleep. “Day of Atonement” has a slowed-down sample looped through the entire piece, giving it a ghostly feel, while beats sizzle, screams shatter windows, and slow-driving chaos pushes you to your limits. “Waiting for the End of the World” is a strange, haunting track that has a dreamy slush ambiance, as members of Assembly of Light Choir (I assume, at least, but I haven’t seen them attributed to the album) recite the Violet Flame Decree as if they’ve been reprogrammed who are now robots devoid of humanity. It’s chilling and works to a stunning degree. Closer “Contempt” has noise boiling, samples pulsating, and Berdan’s shouts getting under your fingernails. King’s fury in his shrieks is unnerving as the track sits in smothering hell, and all noises well up and create a sonic force that ends its assault with a wave of alien zapping.
The union of Uniform and the Body pays off with damaging goods yet again on “Everything That Dies Someday Comes Back,” one of the most sobering, shocking records of the year. It’s here to make you confront that pit in your stomach, the one that never seems to go away and at times grows so big, it’s hard to move on. I can’t say that’s going to put a smile on your face, as it shouldn’t, but the music at least provides an ample destructive foundation on which to smear your frustration.
For more on Uniform, go here: https://www.facebook.com/uniformnewyork/
For more on the Body, go here: https://www.facebook.com/thebodyband/
To buy the album, go here: https://www.sacredbonesrecords.com/products/sba003-uniform-the-body-everything-that-dies-someday-comes-back
For more on the label, go here: https://www.sacredbonesrecords.com/