- The Body are outsiders in metal, a world obsessed with subgenres that doesn't always take kindly to those daring to colour outside the lines. Bassist and vocalist Chip King and drummer Lee Buford, both based in Portland, flirted with avant-garde structures on last year's stunning EP Master, We Perish and then tipped over into excess with its full-length follow-up, Christs, Redeemers, which came with a string section and vocal choir. As a result they've found themselves on labels like Thrill Jockey rather than traditional metal outlets, and their latest home is RVNG INTL, which might seem unusual for music so primal and unhinged. But then their fourth album also comes with an interesting twist: it's produced by Bobby Krlic, AKA The Haxan Cloak, Tri Angle's dark lord of noir electronics.
I Shall Die Here strips The Body's music down to its darkest elements. Their long passages of silence are more unnerving here, and their crashing weight feels even heavier. The band wield their instruments with precision, and Krlic's touch is equally careful. You won't even know he's there until the thrash falls away to an uneasy thrum on the opening track, "To Carry The Seeds Of Death Within Me." On "Alone All The Way," Krlic compresses Buford's spastic thrusts into sledgehammer bludgeons. His fingerprints are most evident on "Our Souls Were Clean." Here the band's gale force noise is channelled into surging techno—think Mika Vainio—before it slips off into a trap rhythm, giving the chaos an unexpected slinkiness.
While King and Buford make a point of exploring new avenues on I Shall Die Here, they also return to their sludgy doom metal roots. On "Darkness Surrounds Us" and "The Night Knows No Dawn," scratchy vocals ride the groove like howls lost to the wind, their meaning buried beyond comprehension. Moments like these recall early black metal, where sonic clarity gave way to the sheer force of terror. That spirit lives on in I Shall Die Here, an album whose sophisticated approach belies its pure nihilism.
The most violent thing about I Shall Die Here is how Krlic demolishes the duo's sounds into fragments. Buford and King don't sound like a band so much as dismembered parts rebuilt into golems made from blood, sweat and circuitry. The onslaught we heard on Christs, Redeemers is replaced by a more drawn-out sense of composition, crafting towering monuments of distorted bass and howling noise. I Shall Die Here is a record that occupies several niches at once. Metal, techno and noise fans will all find solace here, as the band juggle sounds from all three to make something that sounds new, and almost natural.
01. To Carry The Seeds Of Death Within Me
02. Alone All The Way
03. The Night Knows No Dawn
04. Hail To Thee, Everlasting Pain
05. Our Souls Were Clean
06. Darkness Surrounds Us