Album Review: The Body and Full of Hell – Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light

By Marvin Dotiyal, Features Editor
[Thrill Jockey; 2017]
Rating: 3.5/10

Key Tracks: “Earth is a Cage”

There’s no doubt that The Body takes sludge metal to great experimental heights and Full of Hell defines the messiest extremes of grindcore. Once again, the two have returned with another collaborative release, Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light. The distorted atmospheres and the cataclysm of pure noise ascends to a new level, creating not only a constant state of chaos but also an overall disorienting listen.

“Light Penetrates” opens the 30-minute nightmare with an unsettling, bit-crushed sound effect, along with slow guitars and drums that break the mix into an apocalyptic, otherworldly aesthetic. By the end of the song, everything is out of order, just like the majority of the album. “Earth is a Cage” is actually quite a banger, starting out with a rave-like kick drum and building up to an intense eruption of muddy guitars and hard-hitting drums. The whole song is a driving force of sheer doom, disorder and madness molded into one and is perhaps the most musical out of the whole album, with “Master’s Story” being a close second.

The Body & Full of Hell’s experimental endeavors definitely exceed the levels of creativity and innovation in modern music. It’s truly one of a kind. However, it’s undeniably difficult to find pleasure and meaning between all the arbitrarily placed notes; the instruments are all simply scattered throughout along with the vocalist’s raw shrieks. “The King Laid Bare” and “Didn’t the Night End” are just products of jumbled noise; there is little to no musical quality in the songs. You might as well listen to a broken record through a Walmart record player.

By the end of the album, it becomes quite a stretch to even call it music. Not because of their nature of utilizing noise as its main vehicle, but because of its severe lack of emotional appeal or significance. It is better classified as an auditory experience that reveals the power of noise, distortion and unconventional methods of creating a soundscape—the eerie kind that’s used in Gaspar Noé films. It is hard to say that many people will enjoy this album genuinely.

Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light gives a whole new meaning to extreme experimental music, but it would be deemed unorthodox to many. The collaborative works of The Body & Full of Hell might be the right choice for an accompanying soundtrack, but their overall style is insufficient to stand on its own.

Listen here:

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