The Body: All the Waters of the Earth Turn to Blood
At a Loss (2010)
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a sucker for a band’s image. Fuck you. And the way Lee Buford and Chip King portray themselves on the world wide interwebz had me intrigued. These bearded, tubby, in-need-of-a-scrub lads spend a lot of their time brandishing shotguns and rifles in a calm and collected manner. They remind me of Glenn Benton, except they aren’t funny. I’m sure they’re lovely boys but something says they might draw inspiration from the Unabomber, and this is backed up by the cover art for this record. They look like Pumpkinhead on the way to the prom.
Anywho, The Body are originally from Arkansas, although they reside in Rhode Island now, and their sound is partly what you’d expect – down-tuned, swampy and sludgey – but experimental enough to let them get away with such a highfalutin image. I suspect that fans of Australia’s Portal will be into this.
All the Waters of the Earth turn to Blood is an amazing collage of chillingly sad choral choir passages, slowly cascading riffs a la Earth, big, big drums in the vein of Black Boned Angel and the most tortured vocals ever. Love them or hate them, there’s no denying the originality of this tuneless screaming, somewhere between pigs squealing and the last shrieks of a burn victim. Buried deep in the mix, the vocals add a Black Metal quality to this cacophony, a nihilistic and bleak feeling like early Swans butt fucking Xasthur.
At first listen you could easily pigeon hole The Body as a run of the mill doom band. Don’t be fooled though. Apparently 32 musicians contributed to the making of this record. Pay attention. Empty Hearth is underpinned by some seriously possessed yodelling, occasionally interrupted by electronic stutter. On Song of Sarin, The Brave they spend five minutes jamming on a dizzying drone awash with noise and chopped voices, and then 55 seconds punching you in the face with guitar sludge and more of that horrible, horrible screaming. Ruiner features flashes of Kahnate, while Even The Saints Knew Their Hour of Failure and Loss replaces the guitars with a repetitive chime and hollow drums…..and the screaming that makes my hair stand on end.
Apologies for the potty mouth today, but this record is fucking great. All the Waters of the Earth Turn to Blood is a rare kind of weird, its ingredients should not work together they way that they do. It’s certainly crept under my skin, and at oddest moments I find a riff, a shriek or lonely choir section ringing around in my brain. It’s ugly but I keep coming back for more. There’s something fun about letting these two hicks raise a rusty shotgun to your face.