Review Summary: The sound of getting beaten up.
Everything about this album told me that I should be afraid of what I was about to hear. Show Me The Body's logo is three coffin-shaped objects. The unsettling cover for Body War, which is the band's debut, contains the title spray-painted on a light. The title itself conveys a violent message. The download button on the band's website is in this all-caps white font on a black background, reminiscent of something that Burzum would put on one of his album covers. The music videos are hazy, lo-fi, and feature people throwing themselves around to the music. Everything told me this was going to be an unrelenting mess. That assumption was correct, but Body War itself unfortunately leans more toward 'mess' than 'unrelenting'.
The first thing a listener hears when they begin the album is a copiously distorted guitar loop on the titular track. From that moment, until the very last scream on the track Aspirin, Show Me The Body doesn't let you rest your ears for more than a few seconds. This album pummels you into submission with nearly every track, and when it's not doing that, it's disturbing you with reverberations of guitar feedback and disjointed lyrics. An example of that ominous element is the track Honesty Hour, which is the only track on this album that one could consider subdued, even a little bit. Despite that description, it has still has those pained screams and the overloaded distortion.
The aforementioned screams that occupy every single track on Body War appear to be a minor flaw. Although they're overlapped with punchy drum beats and guitar riffs that are admittedly catchy, the vocals are very unintelligible. Phrases that I think I can make out are a mix between these bitter and depressing thoughts, and ones that just don't make sense. The song Two Blood Pacts (one of my favorites on the album) has lines like "Seeing my face in the back of a hearse
" and the even darker "suicide...such an easy way out
". Lines like these generate a very incensed aura around the album that seems to match the sounds. However, the song Worth One contains the line "*** tell me that I'm worth one/It's one or none so I don't have to cum sum
". That does not sound like anything relevant. In fact, in order to understand that line, I had to look it up. The mixing on this album makes it so that most of the time, the lyrics are difficult to understand, which means the message of the song is difficult to grasp as well.
Body War works as some great music most of the time. It's very angry, and it's very loud, and it's definitely going to satisfy 15-year-olds who want to disappoint their parents by playing this new-fangled rap music. Fans of old British bands like The Clash or Sex Pistols might thoroughly enjoy this album too. But it appears to not have more than a few levels of effort from Show Me The Body. Digging deeper doesn't reveal any new themes, or reasons for the forced profanity lacing most of the songs. It's enjoyable by fans of rap and rock, but it lacks the additional substance required to make this a standout record.