This is not a split. It is a collaboration. ‘Released From Love’ is about as mean and noisy as you’d expect from Thou and The Body smashing their creative waves together. On their own, each band represents two corners of the doom/sludge sound: Thou is supremely epic and filled with longing; The Body is a crawling through barbed wire, rusty and vitriolic. This four song release creates a third way, fusing the size of Thou with The Body’s filth.
From ‘The Wheel Weaves As The Wheel Wills’ it is obvious that a lot of imagination has been put into creating a sort of gestalt sound, where the final product is greater than the sum of its parts. The Body’s drum gated reverb sound is there. Thou’s heavy low end is there. Both vocals are there, one bellowing and one wailing distantly in the background. There is a moment at 4:09 when this first track bursts from restrained doom into all out raging sludge in the true original nasty meaning of the genre name.
With second song ‘Manifest Alchemy’ there is a greater doom sound. Presumably led by Thou’s guitar writing, the track trudges between epic riff and anti-melodic drone, filled with feedback and martial drums. Turn the volume up toward the end of the track, sit by the speakers, and feel like you are trapped inside a slow motion lorry accident. Once again the two vocalists deliver a collaborative performance, bellowing and wailing. For me, this is the highlight of ‘Released From Love’.
Third track ‘In Meetings Hearts Beat Closer’ (these titles could be taken from a 00s Joy Division worship band) we continue with the noisy vicious sludge found in track one, but an added lead guitar tremolo picking its way across the high end of the fret board adds an apocalyptic intensity to on already pummeling song. Vocals buried in the mix, there is something almost black metal about the track. Frenetic and sporadic drums heave the song towards its cosmic ending where it blinks out with feedback and the severing of all instruments.
But there are four tracks, of course, The final song is perhaps the most unique part of ‘Released From Love’. The song is a cover of Vic Chesnutt’s ‘Coward’. It opens with subdued clean guitar and wailing, building into full blown doom menace. It loses the drama of Chesnutt’s original but replaces it with an unnerving anger that captures the song’s lyrical darkness. And despite being a cover, it has been molded to slot perfectly into the rest of the songs on this collaboration. It retains the martial drumming and ridiculous low end, rasping vocals and huge guitars.
While this review might feel slightly flat for lack of in depth discussion of the songs, I would suggest this is simply because it is difficult to truly communicate what this collaboration sounds like. Yet in some ways it is quite easy. Imagine what a cross between Thou and The Body could sound like and in fact that’s exactly it. All 22-too-short-minutes of it. Just listen. Seriously. If nothing else than for the novelty of a true cooperatively created split rather than just a couple of individual songs slung together like unloved children in an orphanage.
Scribed by: Glen Westall