Don’t be fooled. The complementary colors and peace offering dove drawn on the cover of The Body’s newest EP, A Home on Earth, contains neither Christmas songs nor a message of perpetual hope. These nine songs peel back yuletide cheer and reveal only defeat.
The hefty textures and rawness blistered throughout this EP suggests The Body is forging deeper into nonconventional metal and noise. Guitarist Chip King and drummer Lee Buford dedicate 20 minutes to electronic processing, pedal use, and decaying rhythms. There are no guitar riffs or erected forms, just degeneration.
Opener “Before we Know” unleashes power electronics like batting glass bottles emits piercing shards. The duo summons an uproarious creature on “Listless” as it spawns thunderous and tortuous screams. “Mother’s Verse” spits hammers and awakens Grendel’s mother. “Die by Ourselves” follows into bleak, polyrhythmic noise after a depressive recording of a female stating hard work doesn’t always yield white picket fences.
King and Buford continue to present a fragile theme buried in an aggressive veneer. “Wife of the World” opens with ear piercing shrieks, destructive drumming, and the gurgle of weathered cymbals. “Plague” has a gospel-tinged echo calling above the screeching guitars, flubbing drums, and knob manipulation.
The final three songs crumble brilliantly under their own weight, swirling briefly in the muck and mire. “No Longer Here” is groove forward with sounds of rattling cages and juddering guitars flexing dark electricity. “Ancient Exiles” is sludgy and hints at The Body’s early doom style as it casts incantations over a dimly lit candle in a cavernous worship site. Closer “Vile Despair” has head bang chops and plenty of noise inducing zaps to overwhelm the rhythm into a trance-inducing spell.
From beginning to end, this EP feels like permafrost tundra. Anger is woven through shallow, lifeless pockets of crucible clatter. King wields his guitar as a noise-inducing scepter of feedback capable of scrapping the rubber from your boots, while Buford gives all nine songs skeletal shape with densely pounded rhythm that obscures into digitalized dust. The Body continues to release deftly cathartic artifacts. A Home on Earth may not speak the language of the season, but it sure calls to mind the necessity for transformation.