We’re not angry, we’re just really sad.
Such is one of the defining moments of a recent interview with experimental, mania-inducing sorrow-bringers The Body, who by now are well-known as much for their collaboration with similarly unique artists as Emptiness and Full of Hell as they are for their sonic experimentation and soundtracks relative to the turmoils of mental illness. It isn’t quite so surprising that The Body are a band that write material thriving on this sort of theme, especially when you learn that the title of their latest album was actually inspired by one line from Virginis Woolf’s suicide note. Indeed, it’s quite a lot to take in, and that’s before you’ve even started listening to I have Fought Against… psychosis-inducing and emotionally raw 50-minute runtime.
Some aspects are more obvious here than others, depending on how much of The Body’s music you have experience in the past. The frequent experimental dabblings with electronica, industrial and trip-hop elements have become quite the trademark for this band now, but that’s not to say that the songs here are devoid of any further meaning. On the contrary, one solitary listen in darkness to “Can Carry No Weight” or “The West has Failed” will make you take a break for a few minutes, to consider the weight and turmoil a simple four-minute song can generate with more minimalism than progression. Yet these two songs are but two of many examples of how successful this album is in getting its message across to the listener. The painful albeit immediate stabbing rhythms of “Partly Alive”, the softer flourish of opener “The Last Form of Loving” or indeed the individualistic narrative work of closer “Ten Times a Day, Every Day, a Stranger” all reach out to the band’s defining, versatile corners of inspiration, no song here really sounding like any other. And that’s essentially what The Body have been building up to ever since they first formed. Incorporating feelings of dread, depression, paranoia-any raw emotional really, that can open up the listener’s proverbial wounds if they let themselves fulfil the song’s intention.
However, another aspect here seems to have come out of the blue, but alas is perfectly harmonized with The Body’s musical inspiration and creativity. Vocalist Kristin Hayter is quite the marvel in this album. Despite the usual indecipherable background screeches threatening to infect the band’s usual foray into delerium-inducing musicianship, Hayter develops such a strong presence that it’s hard not to imagine her being a full-time member of The Body. That said, her voice soars, grates, roars and even spits out with real passion and fervour. “Can Carry No Weight” features an angelic presence, yet “Nothing Stirs” grows from a harmonic innocence to a full-fledged voice of bitterness which wouldn’t sound out of place on a black metal album. “An Urn” seems minimalist at first but develops into a more classical sound, and this is helped by Hayter’s passionate vocal presence, changing from a small whisper to a grand harmony which in turn shares its strengths with Chip King’s gargled and almost demonic wails. But it’s really with “Blessed, Alone” that Hayter’s influence on this album is at its most advantageous. Her delicate piano performance, coupled with a vocal range exploring falsetto and bitter screams amongst many other forms of ululations result in one outstandingly written song, a feeling which is quite similar to the wretched albeit beautiful climax of “Nothing Stirs”.
With I have Fought Against It…, The Body have defined not just their sound (rather, they have reinvented the wheel of their own musical sources), but their intention to any listener that feels they should give this work a listen. It’s mostly a marvel to behold, but looking deeper, reaching beyond the sonic flourishes and the naturally unforgettable involvement of Kristin Hayter will help the listener unravel layer upon layer of raw emotions, which means that several listens are definitely required to get the full effect. As with any album by The Body, this certainly isn’t for everyone, but the select few that experience it will likely never put it down. The band’s magnum opus this certainly is.
Released: 11th May, 2018
- The Last Form of Loving
- Can Carry No Weight
- Partly Alive
- The West Has Failed
- Nothing Stirs
- Off Script
- An Urn
- Blessed, Alone
- Sickly Heart of Sand
- Ten Times a Day, Every Day, a Stranger
Official Bandpage: https://thebody.bandcamp.com/