As the Assembly Of Light Choir started murmuring its way into the first track on The Body’s magnificent preceding record, all promises of annihilation by the hands of a bearded duo of Rhode Islanders immediately faded into a celestial oblivion. But that was it. No more melodies for the rest of the album: just hints and subtle allusions as to what could vaguely resemble a remote assonance or a discernible musicality. The album (All the Waters of the Earth Turn to Blood) was a masterpiece: it was too brutally inspired to be ignored and not alluring enough to be taken seriously. This is exactly why it was underestimated and many of you have never heard of it.
Have The Body changed their winning formula three years later? Not at all. One of the most extreme bands on the planet returns with a rather short EP (18 minutes of pure sonic bliss [read as ‘pure sonic hell’, what could be more enticing? — Madam X]) sporting a promising title: Master, We Perish. And, once again, it is love at first sight.
One could argue that the duo from Providence has taken its music too far by dismembering what was left of the canons of rock to enter the realm of pure avant-garde. Some could even say that, well, ‘low fidelity doom’ in 2013 is a contradictio in terminis insofar as it upsets the very nature of a music style which, in recent years, has evolved into a genre with a method and a discipline of its own. And with popularity have come the immaculate productions and a plethora of complex solutions in terms of arrangements. Boring. The Body challenge the very idea of contemporary doom by stripping its line-up to the very basics: drums and guitar. The duo injects their doom with a healthy dose of drones and feedback while casually copulating with repetitions. The drumming is a percussive appendix protruding into tribalism and trance. The guitar is a wailing racket immersed in noise and distortion. The end result is an aural reinterpretation of Picasso’s Guernica or, more simply put, the finest mess you’ve heard in quite some time.
“The Ebb and Flow of Tides in a Sea of Ash” emanates out of an airstrike siren and flows into Glenn Branca’s worst nightmare as the sound gets so saturated that one could swear it spills out of the speakers. But unfortunately it doesn’t. Guitarist Chip King and drummer Lee Bruford lacerate whatever made sense on All the Waters… by filtering it through what appears to be semi-improvisation so that there is no riff and no structure: just a climax. By now the listener is ready for what comes next. The female choral voices of the Assembly Of Light Choir on “The Blessed Lay Down And Writhe In Agony” are instrumental to the creation of yet another violent contrast between their melancholy and the brutality that ensues. Epic.
Attempting to faithfully describe Master, We Perish is a task that is undoubtedly prone to subjectivity. It is sludge, doom, minimalism, hardcore, noise and drone. But in practice it is none of the above. It is in fact a beautifully obsessive nightmare, one you would never deliberately want to conceive.