Review Summary: The Body are far more adept at building a sense of doom and dread in their own psychotic way than most could ever hope.
The Body are one of those bands just far enough “out there”, that if I was to show them to one of my less musically invested friends they’d probably respond with an incredulous “what the *** was that”? Because even though metal has always been an abrasive and noisy genre in comparison to the rest of the musical landscape it’s largely become somewhat run-of-the-mill, with many people having at least a basic understanding of what heavy metal sounds and looks like. So when a band like The Body comes around to turn metal on its head, warp it into something entirely different then break it until it barely resembles anything it really is a sharp blow to the head regarding what metal actually could be.
Although when I first heard of The Body I thought I had a pretty solid idea of what to expect; the usual fanfare of slow murky basslines, hoarse shouted vocals and an impending sense of doom. So when “Two Snakes” first sullied my ears with its electronic beat, clapping snares and hysterically incoherent vocals (that brings to mind a demented dance track) I was pretty surprised. Calling The Body sludge or doom is a frankly insufficient description for them, although I’m not sure if you could pin them down to any one word but perhaps unhinged will do. True, they do certainly retain many of the usual traits of the genres, with tracks like "Shelter Is Illusory" starting off with a repetitive tribal drum beat that’s then disturbed by murky, feedback drenched guitar. But tracks like “For You” resemble nothing more than one of Merzbow’s wet dreams, a cacophonous maelstrom of buzzing feedback, monotonous cymbal crashes and maniacal screaming, totally at odds with anything that resembles any clear musical structure let alone recognizable as “metal”.
Throughout No One Deserves Happiness
The Body take the overall structure of sludge and doom metal and fill it with their own style, often creating a dichotomy by inserting beautiful female vocals over the most ugly and abrasive noises possible. On “The Fall and the Guilt” for example the lyrics “they know nothing of our love” float across harsh feedback and static that provides an undercurrent of tenseness, while mournful drones swell in and out embellishing the tracks miserable nature, conveying the idea embedded in the albums name better than any other.
Similarly, "The Myth Arc" revolves around matter of fact singing backed up by vocals that drift aimlessly in the background over an ominous, repetitive statement of “I will find you”. The lack of percussion on this track is made up for by the bubbling feedback and earth shattering guitar work that lays down a dense groundwork for the vocals to take the limelight, before dissipating slowly until only the drifting vocals are left. It’s an impressive way to end an album that tends to rely on pounding percussion a lot of the time, and is a good illustration of how The Body are far more adept at building a sense of doom and dread in their own psychotic way than most.