Album Review: The Body—’I’ve Seen All I Need to See’
Posted: by The Editor
Although noise music is a vast and open-ended genre, once you’re twenty years deep in a career of making hellish racket, there are pretty much two routes you can take on a new release: either get cleaner, more precise, and less abrasive, or double-down and make the noise heavier, nastier, and more all-consuming. On the 8th solo album from Portland, Oregon’s The Body, the duo of Chip King and Lee Buford opt for the latter—the more interesting direction for a group like them who draw as much from sludge and extreme metal as they do tornadoes of distortion.
On past records such as their choice 2017 collaboration with grindcore innovators Full of Hell, Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light, the band found cleansing power in their scraping soundscapes. But as its title suggests, I’ve Seen All I Need To See feels like a total rejection of light; the sounds of a budding psychopath finally deciding to snap and actualize their darkest fantasies. The record begins with a reading of a Douglas Dunn poem called The Kaleidoscope that’s about the stinging guilt that courses through the bulgy veins of grief. The rest of the album’s lyrics are completely indecipherable given the mashed and twisted screams they’re presented through, but the general mood of the album doesn’t evoke the “absurd forgiveness” that Dunn’s poem searches for. It sounds like torture.
The terrified shrieks in the back of the mix in “Eschatological Imperative” sound like a kidnapping victim trying hopelessly to be heard through plexiglass. The claustrophobic ”A Pain of Knowing” is constructed from strobing pulses of noise and desperate screeches that are seared with distortion. “The City Is Shelled” moves at a wholloping chug that’s dominated by ear-splitting tom whacks. Eventually, a practically indiscernible piano line appears in the back of the mix like a feverish mirage, a glimmer of light that’s so faint it might not even be real.
The poem references a staircase that the narrator climbs 12 times a day, a Sisyphusian loop of painful reminders that their wife died in the room above. However, the record’s tumbling closer, “Path of Failure”, sounds like someone falling down one. I’ve Seen All I Need to See is one of The Body’s finest works, but it will break you.
Disappointing / Average/ Good / Great /Phenomenal
Eli Enis | @eli_enis
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