At A Loss is a VERY appropriate label for this record to be released on, as it sums up exactly how I feel in attempting to describe it to you.
See, my thinking on what purpose a review should serve is that it should serve as a GUIDE to you, the consumer, breaking down what a record SOUNDS like – y’know, similar points of reference, other bands or artists that the sound of the record can be likened to, and, most importantly, is it actually GOOD, and if not, WHY not? – and FEELS like – what kind of emotions does it provoke, if any. How does it make me FEEL? Is it affecting? – in order to help YOU decide whether or not said record is something that you want to hear for yourself, and importantly, spend your hard-earned MONEY on.
Now, I’m FULLY aware that a review is always going to be biased, as it is essentially an opinion. Everyone has different wants and needs from a piece of music, so one person will hear something in it that someone ELSE may NOT hear at all. One man’s meat is, after all, another man’s poison.
I try as hard as I can to be objective, but it just isn’t always possible if one is to give the BEST possible review that one can, so, with that in mind….
THIS is a phenomenal piece of work, truly.
Without being hyperbolic, you NEED to hear this record. ‘All The Waters Of The Earth Turn To Blood’ is a sensory OVERLOAD encoded onto a compact disc, and the musical equivalent of a violent haunting.
Musical frames of reference for this record would be Khanate’s ‘Things Viral’, Harvey Milk’s ‘My Love Is Higher Than Your Assessment of What My Love Could Be’ and ‘Courtesy and Good Will Towards Men’, parts of the Swans ‘Holy Money’, ‘Greed’ and Children Of God’, and Scott Walker’s ‘The Drift’ – at a PUSH. This is some serious ‘over-the-edge’ Avant-Doom here.
If you are at all familiar with The Body’s first, self-titled, LP – forget everything you know, THIS is a different beast entirely. The core duo that make up The Body has been augmented by numerous guest musicians, including a genuine CHOIR – The Assembly Of Light Choir – who can be heard in FULL effect on most of the seven tracks that make up ‘All The Waters Of The Earth Turn To Blood’.
It is THIS expanded line-up that has enabled The Body to make such a brave and radical recording. Indeed, The Assembly Of Light is the first thing to be heard on the record. The haunting, ethereal sounds of the choir chant and build over the course of opening track ‘A Body’. It is fully seven minutes before the guitar and drums thunder into the track in a slow-motion avalanche of crushing sound, joined by the slurred, distantly hoarse voice of guitarist/vocalist Chip. The thunderous sludge invoked by Chip and drummer Lee lasts for a mere two and a half minutes before it dissolves into feedback and droning strings.
Clearly, we are NOT in Kansas anymore.
‘A Curse’ gives us a chopped and pasted hip-hop sounding drum loop, keening violins and a guitar that sounds like the rusty rotor-blades of an ancient chopper, all morphing into a colossal wind-tunnel of in-the-red guitar and yelling. The bottom drops out, and at the bottom of the well we can hear a piano and some kind of heavy farming equipment.
‘Empty Hearth’ is ushered in by the sound of a group of people speaking rapidly in staccato tongues, whilst guitars and drums like depth-charges detonate randomly, punctuated by Chip a’whooping and a’hollering like a yokel, drunk in the henhouse. Random electronic glitches cut through the entire track on several occasions, throwing the listener off somewhat. The staccato voices loop back on themselves and gradually begin to degrade until they cut out entirely. The entire track feels as though it has been completely disrupted by the juddering of some nearby monstrous earth-moving machine.
‘Even Saints Knew Their Hour Of Failure And Loss’ takes the ominously metallic tolling and chiming guitars of Khanate and sweetens the sound by having the soaring voices of The Assembly Of Light work their magic over them. It doesn’t last. Chip is soon yelping like William Bennett in a distant outhouse over a sparse drum pattern and a loop of what sounds like a bell tolling underwater, and when the piledriving guitars come in its goodnight Vienna.
‘Song Of Sarin The Brave’ gibbers, shudders and twitches into life over misfiring guitars, drums and shrieking feedback. The Body find their groove, guitars avalanche, then they lose it again. The main body of the track consists of processed samples of what may or may not be Charles Manson over an off-kilter drum beat, joined by MASSIVE sheet-metal waves of guitar and those strange whooping vocals right before the end.
We are not dealing with ‘sane’, ‘rational’ people here.
‘Ruiner’ is as close as we come to a linear ‘song’ on THIS record. Those tolling metallic guitars chime out, drums break bones and Chip yells himself hoarse from the bottom of a well. The entire track picks up speed and becomes a tidal wave of roiling guitar and pounding drums and then…..the wave breaks and its into some seriously heavy Melvins-esque power-sludge. Utterly head-caving stuff.
‘Lathspell I Name You’ has The Body employ ALL of the weapons within their arsenal in one final assault on the senses that is sure to leave deep mental scars, if not actual PHYSICAL ones. A driving riff and propulsive drumming surge ever forward, whilst melancholy violins entwine languidly around them until the dour sweetness of the violins is replaced with what sounds like seven tons of filth, just dumped on the guitars. From out of this choking miasma, the haunting sounds of the choir and the throaty howling of Chip emerge, all the while being driven onward by the urgent drums and guitar until a MASSIVE droning chord of Sunn proportions cuts everything DEAD. From out of the nothingness, a pounding beat begins, swathed in static and hiss until this too is destroyed in a burst of warped electronics and we find ourselves back where we were before the dead stop. Thick, cavernous chords carve through the air, punctuated by stabs of percussion and counterpointed by the eerie sounds of the choir and some evilly throaty vocals from Chip. These too recede into the aether until all that is left is mountainous waves of guitar filth, battering drums and those painfully hoarse vocals…and then……nothing.
I will reiterate my point, ‘All The Waters Of The Earth Turn To Blood’ is a taxing, phenomenal recording that may seem daunting, but more than pays off.
Approach it with an open mind, a black heart and a love of filth and you won’t go far wrong.
Scribed by: Paul Robertson