There is a way to make something beautiful and noteworthy out of something unexpected and unorthodox. Noise is a tough element in music to use well, but there are some ambitious artists who can shove distortion to the front lines and actually make something wonderful. The same mantra can be applied to grindcore, death metal or any other metal subgenre that really on roughness, heaviness and a lack of melody; there are ways to make them appealing. It’s not easy, but it’s possible and it’s always nice to see something once classified as cacophony pioneer music into something valuable and culturally essential.
The Body’s Christs, Redeemers doesn’t do that. It doesn’t do anything good. Nothing at all. You can call them “avant-garde” till the cows come home, but that makes no difference when their music is this drained of personality, creativity or any trace of likability.
While the fundamentals of doom metal are slow, lurching rhythms and downtuned melodic instruments, The Body bring this concept into criminal excess in “An Altar or a Grave” and “Failure to Desire to Communicate.” These two songs sluggishly drag their feet for eight minutes with no change in tempo or sampling. They are the same smashing cymbals, super-low riffs and heavily distorted vocals for the entire two tracks. It cannot be overstated how grating this becomes; two minutes into “An Altar…” and you’re already sick of it, but it continues in the exact same pattern. Right when the songs end and you get the okay interlude of “Night of Blood in a World Without End”, it goes right back to the same pattern. It’s disgustingly repetitive to the point of not even being listenable.
Every now and then you’ll hear a new vocal style or the occasionally refined use of metal noise, but these moments are brief, so brief that you might not even recognize them at all. “Prayers Unanswered” features a muffled spoken-word segment while the opener “I, the Mourner of Perished Days” actually can sound majestic, but they’re just not enjoyable. These moments aren’t good for what they truly are; their value simply comes from taking a break from every other pathetic musical notion the album throws at you. They are noteworthy only because they’re not like the rest of the record, not because they themselves are good.
But is The Body a brutal band? They sure do pitch themselves as such, but no, they’re not. Christs, Redeemers isn’t heavy or threatening in the least; the guitars are mindlessly distorted, the rhythms simplistic to the point of basic metronomic pacing, and the cinematic qualities absolutely buried. The most successful doom metal bands make something elegant out of something lurching and brooding; the task of metamorphosis is the genre’s most crucial feature. The Body don’t make any effort to do any of that.
Christs, Redeemers doesn’t sound like music. While you can argue that there are bands that do similar things, but this is experimentalism in its most putrid and abused form. The Body offer compositions on the lowest common denominator possible; they use their walls of noise in very random and unintegrated ways, all while using the same tactics throughout the entire album. Christs, Redeemers sounds like one huge song stretched across ten tracks, but not in any way a good song. It’s monotonous. It’s noisy. It’s unorganized. It’s one thing to challenge the status quo of music and try to be experimental, but it’s another to cite something boring and poorly designed as experimental. Artists use the excuse of experimentalism to justify their work as something viable and creative when it’s not (the “you just don’t get it” or Lulu paradigm). Whether or not The Body are implying this idea may be up in the air, but rest assured that Christs, Redeemers is so devoid of any sense of quality that you’re better off eating your money instead of spending it on this. Do not, I repeat, do NOT listen to this album.