Review: The Body & Dis Fig ‘Orchards Of A Futile Heaven’

Back in October of 2021 I had the absolute honour of reviewing the The Body and BIG|BRAVE collaborative album Leaving None But Small Birds for The Sleeping Shaman. Back then I didn’t have any knowledge of who either band were, beyond having seen the names on various advertising and promotional platforms.

The Body & Dis Fig 'Orchards Of A Futile Heaven' Artwork
The Body & Dis Fig ‘Orchards Of A Futile Heaven’ Artwork

Knowing that The Body has a reputation as an experimental metal outfit, I was intrigued as to what the album would be like and was absolutely surprised with what I found. Not at all what I was expecting, I loved the album, and the review conveyed that without any doubts at all. Since then I have become quite the fan of BIG|BRAVE, but The Body has somewhat eluded me, until now.

Jumping forward to 2024, and the 23rd of February sees the release of the newest The Body collaboration, this time with Berlin based experimental DJ Dis Fig. It’s a very different experience to my last The Body outing, and through the course of this review, I will endeavour to explain why, and leave you with a need to explore deeper, and truly give yourselves to not only The Body, but to Dis Fig too.

The album itself is entitled Orchards Of A Futile Heaven and after experiencing the work, it does conjure up ideas of an apocalyptic future, and the notion of a futile heaven too. Over the course of the seven tracks, if you are brave enough to engage with the album, you will be subjected to an absolute mind melting sonic journey, the likes of which is pretty nightmare inducing let me tell you that.

Never overly death metal heavy, the intensity through the expertise in sonic noise scapes will infect your every pore, and leave you begging for it to stop, such is the power of the aural assault. This isn’t to say that its unlistenable, quite the opposite in fact, but what I am trying to express is the fact that the density of the sound will be, at times, utterly overwhelming, with a power which will give you the want to press pause on it all for a second. It will leave your heart racing, and your head pounding, and if that all sounds pretty exciting, then you’ve definitely come to the right place.

this is truly visionary, and for the new generation of music, this should be the benchmark for groundbreaking and anxiety inducing terror…

Opening with Eternal Hours, you would be very wrong to expect the first minute of uncomfortable fuzzy feedback and disjointed industrial noise to continue throughout the five minutes. By the end of the first couple of minutes everything has evolved, and the disjointed parallel of pained screeching and softer shoegazy vocal is coursing deeply within the sonic baseline.

I draw comparison to Portishead, but not so much for anything from the early incarnation of the band, more so for the album Third, when Portishead really go deep into exploring soundscapes and angst driven rhythms. It is painful to ingest, but such is the point of this sort of musical exploration.

This closeness and vibe doesn’t ever let up throughout the whole album, and while The Body create these post-apocalyptic scenarios sonically, Dis Fig effortlessly flits between moments of utter lunacy, and softer, almost serene beauty vocally, all the while bouncing off of the foreboding background. Its utterly awkward, at times jarring, and completely compelling.

For me it’s a weird one, because there are times when I can point at Portishead for a near comparison, and at others it’s as if Dis Fig has been looking towards Björk as a figurehead to look to for abrasive and unique vocal stylings. This is very true on tracks such as To Walk A Higher Path and Dissent, Shame, when that lean nudges me towards Björk especially, and yet, at other times, such as Coils Of Kaa it has a touch of Fever Ray in the mix. Such is the dynamic of Dis Figs voice, on track seven, Back To The Water, I would even go as far as adding Chelsea Wolfe vibes to that list too.

All the while, The Body throw absolutely everything at the recording, and no two minutes seem to have the same elements of sound. It saves the work from becoming stagnant, and at the same time gives the listener no chance to sit back and enjoy the ambience either.

As an exercise in experimental music goes, I have to say that not since Trent Reznor at his most vibrant have I been captivated like I have with this Mad Max desolate future soundtrack music, and this is a true testament to all the musicians involved.

Well, I say musicians, I think innovators is probably a more appropriate word, as this is truly visionary, and for the new generation of music, this should be the benchmark for groundbreaking and anxiety inducing terror. And that, my friends, is the real mark of art in its purest form.

Label: Thrill Jockey Records
The Body: Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram
Dis Fig: Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: Lee Beamish