The Body ‘Master, We Perish’ CD/12″/CS/DD 2013

The Body 'Master, We Perish'When 2010’s ‘All The Waters Of The Earth Turn To Blood’ was released, The Body established themselves as a band existing at doom metal’s most distant and hostile borders, and that’s being generous. Yes, it was certainly slow and heavy but their tendency towards corruption and nihilism made for listening that was uncomfortable in its attractiveness, a Mona Lisa corroded by age and disease. ‘Master, We Perish’ is 18 minutes that follow their same path of fevered apocalypticism yet it offers a broad spectrum of filth that is all the more remarkable for its consistency in direction.

Opener ‘The Ebb And Flow Of Tides In A Sea Of Ash’ rears its head with the wail of a lone air-raid before being joined by the rapid rattle of snare and, as the guitars blast through with their ugly whirr, the bombs drop in the form of Chip King’s agonising howls and all hell breaks loose in a flurry of blackened punk chaos. It’s the shortest track here, at a mere 3 and a half minutes, but this is the most direct the band have sounded in years. It’s a vicious outpouring of futile rage and a harrowing precursor to what follows.

If ‘The Ebb…’ was the sound of the nuclear winter paranoiacs getting it right, ‘The Blessed Lay Down And Writhe In Agony’ is a triumph for the Rapturists. The ethereal moans of sometimes collaborators the Assembly of Light Choir lend the opening a haunting air, each strum hanging in the æther like the sword of Michael before the band hits a steep slope and descends into the abyss on a tide of sludgy riffing and King’s fevered screams. This dabbling in diametrically opposed shades is nothing new to the Rhode Island duo but this it’s arguably their most effective experiment yet, the lighter shades reminiscent of the religious horror of The Omen and the eventual deluge more akin to the visceral gut-punch of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a nasty piece of nihilism yet not without its charms.

The lengthy drum-circle cacophony of ‘Worship’ rounds off the triumvirate in crippling style and if you can listen to this without making a single Neurosis comparison, you’re a special kind of person. While they do undoubtedly possess the same level of percussive power as their Oakland brethren, the added miasma of voices that snakes its way through the maze of toms makes it a much more dizzying and disconcerting experience. There’s no calm, no respite here, just a steady onslaught that slowly grinds any vestigial power to resist this band into the ground, punishing and cleansing in equal measure.

Viewed as a whole, the thread of negativity that runs through this EP is solid and coherent, but the disparity in tempo and rage displayed in these three cuts leaves the impression that it’s a mere epilogue to something greater, a work of harrowing intensity that would leave Cormac McCarthy feeling lost for words. Until that arrives and scares the almighty shit out of us, this is the next-best thing – a bleak bastard of an EP that reaffirms everything great about this most unique of outfits.

Label: At A Loss Recordings

Scribed by: Dave Bowes