Review Summary: Desolate, apocalyptic, and crushing, Nothing Passes is an absolutely essential collaboration that will appeal even to those who found themselves uninterested by the solo output of those involved.
If you have ever listened to the individual efforts of either The Body
, you might think you know what to expect on a collaboration between them. On the part of the former, you anticipate droning, apocalyptic, mildy creepy sludge metal with otherworldy shrieks and, more likely than not, an abundance of choral overtones. The latter will probably contribute dark, despair-ridden instrumental post-rock anthems with flashes of heaviness. More than anything else, however, you may not expect either band to create something truly worthwhile, as it is quite likely than you are one of the people who consider The Body
's All the Waters of the Earth Turn to Blood
to be an excessively long, relatively boring example of sludge metal, and your interest may not have been held by the arguably derivative crescendo-plagued ost-rock of Braveyoung
's We Are Lonely Animals
. However, Nothing Passes
is sure to blow your previously held expectations clear out of the water: while one can certainly hear touches of both bands' unique (that is, in the case of The Body
) sounds, this collaboration transcends the relatively unexceptional output of both involved acts to create one of the most worthwhile pieces of dark, atmospheric sludge/drone that you have ever made the mistake of overlooking.
While the genre descriptor than Nothing Passes
most successfully aligns with may be sludge or drone metal, ultimately, this categorization falls flat, failing to capture enough of this album's sound to truly describe what a listener should expect from it. Over four songs and slightly over 35 minutes, this brilliant collaboration traverses the realms of sludge, drone, doom, dark ambient, choral music, folk, post-rock, and even gospel music to craft a work of art that is utterly unique and nearly unparalleled in the sense of darkness and despair it manages to convey. It only serves to further confuse the average genre tag-obsessed obsessive-compulsive that each of its four songs is completely different from the rest. While the creatively-titled 'Song One' may throw off the listener with its three-minute duration and comparatively peaceful drone, feeling more like a typical ambient opener than anything else, the following track, 'Song Two,' is an absolute behemoth of a song. Clocking in at an impressive fifteen minutes, it may be the most familiar track on the album to those who are accustomed to The Body
's typical output. It contains the only use of Chip King's signature shrieks on the entirety of the album, and also showcases a few uses of the female choir whose beautiful lines inundated All the Waters of the Earth Turned to Blood
. This track slowly builds over its excessive-but-necessary duration into an immensely heavy and dark feast of droning sludge, with pounding, tribal percussion accentuating droning Sunn O)))
-esque riffs and King's shrieks.
Things really get unusual, however, come the second half of Nothing Passes
. The title track is a solid eight minutes of slightly metallic drone topped with a repetitive chime melody, somehow coalescing to create one of the most engaging and foreboding drone tracks in the past few years. However, strangely enough, the most brilliant piece of music on this collaboration does not come until the final track, a cover of Carribean freak folk act Exuma
's 'The Vision' (from their 1970 self-titled debut). It is absolutely unlike any of the three preceding songs on Nothing Passes
, a weighty slab of gospel folk. What is truly unusual about this song is that it, easily the least heavy track on the album, is one of the most indescribably bleak, foreboding, apocalyptic, and desolate songs in recent memory. The Body
take the jangly folk of the original, add soulful female vocals, gospel influences, and an impressive set of production values to transform 'The Vision' into something as beautiful as it is hopeless. Accentuated by droning, distorted chord of the type utilized in the previous tracks on the album buried deep in the background of the song and light touches of percussion, this cover is one of those unique few that retains the spirit of the original (not to mention its hauntingly dark lyrics detailing the "Seven Angels" of Revelation) while adding its own flourishes, and it the process it arguably becomes, in some ways, better than the original. Really, this specific facet exemplifies and describes the whole of Nothing Passes
. This collaboration retains the unique aspects of the participants' sounds, yet transcends both to create something far more exceptional than either band has managed to create individually.
The seventh angel, he raised his hand.
And not a word... Not a word did he say.
And all the dead walking throughout the land.
Whispering, whispering, it was Judgment Day.