You can’t say The Body fail to give warning about what’s coming on their new three-song EP, Master, We Perish. The broken, contorted, skeletal form on Manifester’s album cover provides the first clue. Further hints lie in the first two song titles — “The Ebb and Flow of Tides In a Sea of Ash” and “The Blessed Lay Down and Writhe In Agony”. And the first track does begin with the wailing sound of an air raid siren, in case you weren’t paying attention: It’s time to duck and cover.
Chapter 1: “The Ebb and Flow of Tides In a Sea of Ash” drags doomed guitar chords across a scarred wasteland of distortion, with horrific howling and screaming as accompaniment and the screech of feedback as the climax. It’s relatively brief. For the sake of sanity, this may be a good thing.
Chapter 2: Clanging notes reverberate at the outset of “The Blessed Lay Down and Writhe In Agony”, muttering is heard in the background, and a soprano’s voice soars skyward. Fuzzy electronic pulses beat a rhythm. Someone pumps a shotgun, and the drum blasts and cymbal crashes come down like meteor strikes. The song begins to rumble and roll with sludged-out riffs, the drumbeats lurching ahead, caustic cries coming from the deep distance. Distortion fills your head, black matter drowning your mind.
Chapter 3: “Worship”. The long final song is announced (and is undergirded throughout) by a tribalistic, martial drum tattoo and it’s then flooded by a dense maelstrom of swirling noise and harrowing voices. It’s the sound of minds coming apart, of bodies being torn upon an altar of devastation, of a hateful ritual reaching its culmination. And it comes . . . in the song’s final minutes . . . with roaring blasts of guitar and a jagged cloud of distortion pulled along in its wake. Something monstrous has been eating, and begins to be sated. The fleeting cries of damned souls wither into an abrupt silence.
And that’s it, like a novella of nihilism, with a beginning, a middle, and your end.
Percussionist Lee Buford and guitarist/vocalist Chip King have their fingers on the pulse of a beast. It heaves with hellish menace in Master, We Perish. It exhales the breath of waking nightmares. With its help, they’ve created psychoactive music: you not only listen and feel, but in listening, your mind begins to imagine things, and they’re not pretty things.
How this distortion-heavy cloud of sludgy doom and black, sample-filled noise can prove to be so captivating, I can’t explain, but it is. I should be running away, but I’m coming back to the beginning, ready to walk this tortured path again.
Master, We Perish will be released as a 12” EP, CD, cassette, and digital download on April 30 by At A Loss Recordings. Preorders of all formats are available here.
The day before yesterday the band released an official video for the EP’s first track. Directed by Richard Rankin, it looks all too disturbingly real, as law enforcement personnel discover the aftermath of a mass suicide. Watch and listen below.