The Body and Full Of Hell are no strangers to collaborations or to each other, as both acts have teamed up in the past together and individually with some of the undergrounds best bands (Thou, Code Orange, Krieg etc). One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache (Neurot) was an assault on the senses, and you’d expect nothing less from both bands, but with Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light (Thrill Seeker) they look to push the boundaries of what qualifies as music even further. Continue reading
You can file Coffins and Ilsa’s Split EP (Relapse Records) under heaviest thing you’ll jam out to for a while. No time to waste here with pretentious orchestral arrangements or cliché samples; Coffins and Ilsa immediately start their brutal eardrum massage with relentless riffs and grooves.
Case in point? You only get roughly 12 minutes of music on this EP. Maximum effort and distortion crammed into two songs.
Japan’s Coffins gets first crack at it with ‘Tyrant’ and they somehow make it sound more demonic than on last year’s Craving to Eternal Slumber. The guitar tone remains Coffins gnarly, but the production has dialed up the grit and smoke inhalation. Jun Tokita’s grunts sound like the product of a lifelong sand and gravel diet and are perfectly paired to Uchino’s skilsaw on asphalt guitar tone.
Tempo-wise, Ilsa aren’t as jackhammer intense as Coffins, but they certainly bring the decibels on ‘Cult of the Throne.’ But what they lack in speed, they make up for with an even grimier atmosphere and steady double bass stomp. Orion Peter’s pained howling and the crawling breakdown at around the 4:15 mark conjure up images of prime Eyehategod.
You may not get much in the way of running time, but Coffins and Ilsa satisfy if heaviness is what you crave. Can we get a tour now?
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A collaborative effort between two or more bands is not an unheard of concept, especially within our world’s more avant garde entities, from the sublime – Scott Walker and Sunn O))) – to the not so good (Metallica and Lou Reed just to open a can of worms). Experimental extremists The Body are certainly no strangers to such work, with their previous collaborations with the likes of Thou and this release with black metallers Krieg (At A Loss).
The first thing to note is how dissonant and visceral this release is. As with their previous joint works, The Body choose to bolster the white rage intensity of Krieg, building on a distinctly metal record with their dark traits. Rather than the more distinctive black metal blast beats however, this is much more electronic based, programmed beats, high pitched frequencies and feedback and a bulldozing pace, albeit with Neill Jameson’s piercing growls and shrieks on top.
This clash of raw black metal and the mechanized and programmed beats match up so well in what is an equally horrifying, dizzying and hypnotic effort, while Jameson’s vocals add an even weightier punch of pure terror as this conveys the absolute epitome of dismay and filth.
This is extreme metal crawling to its warped and perverse limits, dragging it kicking and screaming to the future.
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Let’s be honest – collaborations in Metal almost never work. The point is surely to create something which combines elements of both bands into something both distinctive and familiar, but in practice it normally ends up as either a crude patchwork or simply a retread of whichever band has the most distinctive style.
Gnaw Their Tongues and Dragged Into Sunlight are in many ways the perfect combination of bands for this kind of collaboration – not only because of their shared theme and atmosphere, but because both bands occupy a shifting sonic territory whose boundaries are regularly reformed. GTT have long been in the habit of altering the exact balance of Noise and Black Metal between albums, whereas DIS’ two non-collaborative albums both explore notably different styles and tones. As a result, it’s not easy to identify exactly what each party has contributed to NV (Prosthetic) – this is very much its own thing, not a crude combination of the two.
Which is not to say that this is their surprise Polka album. The five tracks on NV explore the mixture of Black Metal, harsh Noise and grim Sludge/Doom that you’d expect from these two names, and it’s a genuinely effective mixture. It may be GTT mastermind Mories’ hand that keeps the balance on the atmospheric and sinister rather than outright brutal, and Dragged Into Sunlight may have written the crusty Black Metal riffs that slither out of the shadows throughout, but the elements unite into a genuinely effective whole. It may initially seem surprising that the Noise elements are relatively subtly played, often used to accentuate and highlight the Metal rather than entomb them in the style of Aevangelist, but both bands understand the value of not over-egging the pudding all the time.
Whether judged as a collaboration between two artists with similar aesthetic goals or as an album in its own right, NV is an unrestrained success, and – alongside Gnaw Their Tongues’ own Abyss Of Longing Throats (Crucial Blast) – one of the more interesting albums in this style that you’re likely to hear in 2015.