ALBUM REVIEW: The Body and Dis Fig – Orchards Of A Futile Heaven


The Body, who are comprised of Rhode Island duo Lee Buford (drums/programming) and Chip King (guitars/vocals), are a Metal band, but not as we know it (to paraphrase Star Trek).

No references to dragons or Satan, high-pitched Dio-esque vocals or wild guitar solos can be found amongst their work, nor the type of harsh growled/shrieked vocals and pummeling blast beats that has by now become synonymous with the genre.

Indeed the promotional notes state as much describing The Body’s willingness to “continually challenge any conventional conception of Metal.” Furthermore, regarding this latest collaboration, Buford is quoted as saying “I also didn’t really like heavier guitar music, none of it really felt quite heavy enough to me. A human can’t be as heavy as a machine.”

The Body have released a fantastic number of albums with collaborations outnumbering standalone releases. The former has allowed the pair to span a wide spectrum of musical styles from Folk (BIG|BRAVE), Black Metal (Krieg), Industrial (Uniform), Grindcore/Noise (Full of Hell) and now Electronic music with Dis Fig, a.k.a. Berlin-based DJ and producer Felicia Chen.

“Eternal Hours” has traces of Dub and Trip-Hop and sonically comes across as simultaneously threatening yet strangely soothing. Dis Fig’s vocals are a particular standout, one moment howling like Kristin Hayter under her former Lingua Ignota persona, whilst on the other dreamy and melancholy a la Portishead‘s Beth Gibbons and Aussie Folk songstress Plum Green.

Never has chaos sounded this good. “To Walk A Higher Path” recalls Bjork with a shimmering Darkwave musical backdrop in tow that comes straight from the early eighties. It positively crackles making for an eerily effective piece of work.

“Dissent, Shame” injects a little more ‘heaviness’ into the proceedings, though in a purely abstract sense. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves; this is hardly Morbid Angel. It’s more akin to the avant-garde drones of Sunn O))) but with some beautifully ethereal vocals slotted in for good measure.

For “Orchards Of A Futile Heaven” again Bjork surfaces with the somewhat offbeat childlike vocal style as well as the strong electronic pulse of the music permeating throughout. The track is almost minimalist and reminiscent of some of the more intelligent electronic output out there from labels such as Warp Records: beautiful and atmospheric.

“Holy Lance” is the album’s first overt display of Metal with crunching guitar work that has an Industrial-like quality, albeit not the sort of hammy Thrash Ministry have been flogging for nearly two decades.

A superb construction. “Coils Of Kaa” sees The Body’s doomy Metal blending in effortlessly with Dis Fig’s brand of hypnotic Electro Synthwave and belies the track’s mammoth nine-minute-plus running time by keeping you captivated throughout.

Finally, “Back To The Water” has a yearning quality with repeated lyrical refrains such as “I miss you”‘ and a pummeling and abrasive musical attack not a million miles from early Swans that both help bring Orchards of a Futile Heaven to a dramatic conclusion.

This isn’t an album which will appeal to all and sundry especially as its heavy emphasis on experimentation will prove off-putting to some. However it fills a sonic spot and highlights in turn the talents of its participants.

 

Buy the album here:
https://thebody.bandcamp.com/album/orchards-of-a-futile-heaven

8 / 10
REZA MILLS