‘Grief wrongs us so’: The Body – A Lament

The Body don’t leave you guessing too hard with their album and track titles. Previous album titles include: I Shall Die Here; No One Deserves Happiness; Mental Wounds Not Healing, and the Sylvia Plath-referencing I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer. 

The Portland duo don’t venture too far from bleakness and abject suffering, pounded into shape by Lee Buford’s piledriving drums and Chip King’s acrid guitar distortion and retching, feral howls. The blunt force trauma and relentless devastation of the titles, lyrics and their delivery always seem to land heavier than more performative shock-tactic metal. 

They’ve just announced a new album, and this one’s called I’ve Seen All I Need To See. So far, so Body. But the first track, ‘A Lament’, doubles, triples, quadruples down on the bleakness — an industrial vice compressing every tonne of malevolence and zero-melody guitar grinding into just under six minutes. 

Apparently they’re paring back the guest appearances and electronic embellishments on this album, but A Lament starts with a reading of Scottish poet Douglas Dunn’s The Kaleidoscope, with its despairing final lines: “Grief wrongs us so. I stand, and wait, and cry / For the absurd forgiveness, not knowing why.”

I’ve Seen All I Need To See will be released by thrill Jockey on January 29, 2021. Yes, the year after this one. Who knows where the fuck we’ll be.