Gospel power-sludge duo The Body are so ridiculously heavy that they can crack continents, part seas, and shift the moon off of its axis, this we know, so what happens when they expand their number by adding not only the spectrally beautiful sound of the Assembly Of Light Choir – who helped to made their last record shine so brightly – but also the added bolstering of four-headed orchestral drone-rockers Braveyoung into the mix? Could this be a very real sign of impending apocalypse? Will the seas run red with blood? Mass hysteria, cats and dogs living together…well, you get the picture…will they crack the planet in half?
I’m happy to report that the planet is in no more imminent danger than it was before these boys and girls hit the studio, but I’m pretty sure some animals were harmed during the making of Nothing Passes. Well, maybe more than some….
Opening track ‘Song One’ kicks off with an ominous swirling vortex of static and guitars, a humming black hole of sound, from out of which arises a spectral air, tinged with eastern melody and rendered on an unidentifiable instrument – could be a violin, a trumpet, a heavily treated guitar or all three. I’m no expert.
‘Song Two’ hoves into view with the sound of a cello, or bowed electric bass, beneath a chiming, bell-like percussive tone and the wordless breathy sounds of the Assembly Of Light Choir before the beating of massive drums and a heavy as lead guitar crack the bucolic reverie and usher in pandemonium. The drums lock into a pounding military-inspired rolling beat as the molten guitars grind out a transcendent riff. A twilight abyss of sound opens mid-way through, taking the drums and choir down into itself, while the guitar carves dense, humming arcs in the atmosphere until the whole thing comes steaming back in again – hulking guitar, thunderous drums, ethereal choir – joined by howling bestial vocals in one joyously heavy sensory overload.
‘Nothing Passes’ is a churning rumble of static and a chiming bell-like recurring melody that builds over time, culminating in a kaleidoscopic drone, and ‘The Vision’ is a near-straight gospel-style, acoustic guitar-driven, cover of the final track from Bahamian musical legend Exuma’s 1970 debut album, Exuma: The Obeah Man, sung, presumably, by one of the members of the Assembly Of Light Choir and backed up by the rest of ’em, whilst in the far distance a heavy-ass guitar drones away, adding colour and a vague sense of unease to the otherwise joyful song.
An unexpected and surprising end to an unexpected and surprising record, and one that sees The Body appear to musically dominate proceedings, leaving Braveyoung in a more subservient position. It’ll be very interesting indeed to see where both bands go after this.
Scribed by: Paul Robertson