Review Summary: A tight-knit, plummeting ball of articulate fury, admirably obsessed with its concept. The stuff of revolutions.
The genius of The Body, The Blood, The Machine
isn't necessarily in its melodies, or even in what the album sonically ends up as. This album has its priorities straight. It's precisely emotional and emotionally precise. It's a fast-paced, up-front indie album with a meaningful concept intentionally made clear.
Lyrical references are mostly of religious association, but the words magnify these concepts to show what's really going on there, religion or no religion. Vocalist Hutch Harris's performance is right at the front of the mix, and his captivating talk-singing works for clear enunciation, without sacrificing the passion. The album tells a story you would have to be trying
not to find at least some familiarity in.
The guitars have clean effects but get strummed with speed and conviction, and at times the songs get broken up by lightly distorted riffs and solos, but it's never to show off musicianship; they take as little time as possible to separate the song while keeping things memorable, and they always work. It gives the album a punkish appearance, especially the guitar lead in "A Pillar of Salt," with the way it slides around the frets and then ends in a blink. The concept is never forgotten, and the songs never lose their uniquely noticeable tightness.
They're tight, yet dynamic. The spaces in the guitar line from which the vocals emerge in "Returning to the Fold" turn the song into an anthem. And one about the illusion of death, no less: " I regret leaving my soul, I forgot I needed it, To feel / Maybe when I die, I'll just grab it real quick / I'm comin' right back."
"Power Doesn't Run on Nothing" runs on a continuously biting, upbeat pace that emphasizes its especially scathing nature: "Our power doesn't run on nothing / It runs on blood, and blood is easy to obtain / When you have no shame."
And "Test Pattern" takes a slight turn for the subdued, slowing down a bit and strumming a bit easier, even going as far as finding optimism in its uncertainty.
Despite its clever, yet never mean or profane, rails against hypocrisy and oppression, the album ends on a note of quite universal hope with "I Hold the Sound." Despite all the hypocrisy and oppression occurring everywhere, I bet you all could still agree with the song's beautifully simple chorus: "I hold you, I hold the sound."
It makes one want to start a revolution. Its huge theme conveyed through its little words give the song an epic, outwardly expanding tone. It may sound in need of some more reverb at first, but the passion, the edge, and the clarity of it are evidence that it doesn't need any dampening.
And that goes for the entire album. Every song is a wonderfully tight-knit ball of articulate fury, and they're all connected by either their melodies or sudden spurts of controlled noise from which a new riff hatches. Either way, nothing ever stops or sputters. The Body, The Blood, The Machine
takes you on a perfectly digestible journey through injustice and onward to hope, in the most engaging way you can with these instruments. Too precise to be punk, yet too bitter and confident to be lumped in with popular "indie," just call this album... a masterpiece.