The Body/Sandworm – Split Album (Thrill Jockey)
Underground extremists The Body and Sandworm combine to release a new split album. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews.
The contribution by The Body to this split album is their sixteen minute operetta, The Manic Fire. Spanning a single side it begins with over a minute’s worth of madcap symbol crashing whilst background fuzz builds and eventually takes over. The next section is a haunting piano-led piece with treated ghost-like voice floating in and out of sound range; it’s quite a calming if slightly disturbing interlude before the crashing drums take control.
The crashing drums tower over indistinguishable vocals from the Providence band as they wail their blues-like tones with grit and grizzle. The drums and guitars are slow paced, creating suspense at the faster section which adds clinical sounding treatments to an already spiralling death march.
The final three minutes is complete and utter mayhem as again the distorted feedback and nothingness gets completely out of control as screaming vocals try desperately to be heard.
The Body are long term friends with Sandworm and Ben Eberle has rarely missed a live performance of the former since the age of 17, clocking in over 100 visits to see them perform. Pat Reilly from Sandworm played viola on All The Waters Of The Earth Turn To Blood, The Body’s album from 2010.
There is a stark contrast between the groups. Whilst The Manic Fire is a well constructed marathon of styles, the Sandworm contribution is nine tracks of death metal in which anger and darkness rip through the seams of the ‘walls of sound’ constructed on the quite incredible musicianship and rupturing voices. Most of the tracks are around the two minute mark with Gestalt Dreams being the pick of the bunch with a wicked guitar riff.
For a non-metal fan the length of the tracks here is key as merits can be given on power and pure commitment alone. Land Of Sand teases the ears with switches in stereo output whilst the album closer Amid is more conventional and akin to a hybrid standard rock effort.
It’s all amazingly energetic and to be frank, a lot more entertaining than you’d maybe first imagine. Not one for the neighbours at 3am on a Sunday morning.
Sandworm are on Bandcamp here and on Facebook here.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul is working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, the BBCs longest running alternative music programme. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow hiapop Blog on Twitter, @hiapop.