An absolutely filthy album, guaranteed to make you feel guilty of ever laughing, smiling, or being happy and encouraging you to feel like complete shit in the most phenomenal way possible.
Portland band, The Body, seem to have been unhappy and angry since their sludgy introduction in 2004, and have continued to layer drone, noise, distortion and self-hatred into the 2010’s. The last decade has been one of consistent collaborations, notably with the sludgy-doomy Thou and powerviolence revivalist Full of Hell. Now, I Have Fought Against It… brings Kristin Hayter (Lingua Ignota) on board for their heaviest and most disgusting sonic wormhole yet.
A lowly listen, I Have Fought Against It… is deranged and depressive. It’s centred on the slowest and demented forms of death industrial and drone metal, but doesn’t hesitate to expand upon the nihilistic elements of EBM and industrial hip-hop in fleeting instrumentals. Orchestral, neoclassical elements also slide alongside Ignota’s operatic vocals when her voice isn’t falling apart in a desperate screech. Together, gurgling contortions of bass twist bloodcurdling banshee screams into Ignota’s patronising rants as shattering drums redefine what it means to create a disgustingly heavy album.
Conceptually and musically heavy, actually, one or the other will floor you, if not both.
I Have Fought Against It… has solidified itself as The Body’s most realised album so far as its decipherable concept of draining pessimism and defeat is carried through its multitude of vocalists and thrust upon the listener. The Body doesn’t care if you held your firstborn daughter in your arms this morning, or that you just graduated, they’ll still force you to feel hopeless and abhorrent, angry and full of resentment. It’s an extremely powerful record.
These feelings are exemplified though instrumental and production volatility, where the sheer confidence of leading members Lee Buford and Chip King allow for impressive stylistic freedom. For example, the orchestral elements of opener “The Last Form of Loving” evolve into the throbbing pulse of a dub-techno-esque beat on “Can Carry No Weight” whilst their characteristic droning feedback claws away beneath it. Among the other idiosyncratic moments, such as the hip-hop influenced “The West Has Failed” and the strange EBM/power-electronics melding of “An Urn”, Ignota’s absolutely unbelievable voice adds an entirely new dimension to The Body’s music. She has that beautiful theatrical tone when she wants to, complimenting the crying strings and juxtaposing the harshness of the mutilating feedback, but can then rip into yells that completely tear at you (listen to the masterpiece that is “Nothing Stirs” to appreciate this, or visit her 2017 solo project All Bitches Die).
I could happily write another 400 words describing the phenomenal use of drums in I Have Fought Against It… but to keep it brief, interplay between drum machines and traditional drums expound frightfully heavy and contained chaos. Their tone is otherworldly on tracks like “Sickly Heart of Sand” as they are chopped and pasted, made to wobble and distort with every passionate hit, whereas other tracks are made to sound cold and sparse with the minimalist combo of only high-hat and bass drum.
The final 8+ minute song, which builds from a wall of harsh noise to a melodramatic citing of a man who has already lost his will to live, is the most appropriate way for the album to end. It’s a stark juxtaposition from the intensity of the former aural violence, yet hypnotically and depressively continues to further the brutally defeated theme.
And so the album leaves you feeling like you did during its first smothering track…
… like absolute shit.