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The Body > I Shall Die Here > Reviews
The Body - I Shall Die Here

Suggestion of Sludge - 68%

HeySharpshooter, December 2nd, 2014

At this point, I am not sure we can call Portland, Oregon duo The Body a metal band anymore. Not that there is anything wrong with that per-se, but the slow, lurching metamorphosis from sludge band to something different - noisey, droney, unseemly - has taken its next logical step with the duo's fifth full length I Shall Die Here. Apparently a collaboration with someone known as The Haxan Cloak and driven more now by atmospheric, droning electronic sound scapes than an Orange amp and big, thunderous drums, I Shall Die Here offers only hints of the bands previous releases. The Body have been very vocal about the fact they don't consider themselves a metal band, and with I Shall Die Here it seems they are ready to convince everyone else.

Take the intro, "To Carry the Seeds of Death With Me," which starts off with a big, ugly sludge riff and thumping drums, yet suddenly transforms into something different. With an obvious influence of Today is the Day and their masterpiece album Sadness Will Prevail, the track devolves into a minimalist, droning and ominous stretch of electronic noise, rhythmic and hypnotic yet noisey and chaotic. This is, to me anyway, a pretty obvious metaphor for the band and their artistic direction; we are staying dark and ugly, but we are moving away from metal. Most of the tracks use actual instruments in the most limited ways possible, leaning much more heavily on synthesizers and samples. It leads to lots of long, droning tracks, with occasional flourishes of something like metal... it doesn't last.

To describe I Shall Die Here as pretentious would be... deadly accurate. And again, there is nothing wrong with that. Some of the best music ever created is defined by pretentiousness, so that really isn't the problem with I Shall Die Here. The problem is for all it's pretentiousness and obvious metaphors, the album isn't particularly revolutionary. Remember when I mentioned Sadness Will Prevail? Yeah, this is basically that without the ambition or the chops of a Steve Austin. It does evoke an atmosphere of dread to be sure, and has some really, really dynamic moments. The almost tribal drum beat near the end of "Alone All the Way"(news flash, another song about death) is simply devastating, acting as the biggest highlight on an otherwise solid but dull album. Filled with samples of random people talking about death and suicide(including a sample from a PBS special about assisted suicide for those dying of incurable diseases called "The Suicide Tourist"... PBS ist krieg), there is something a bit... immature about the whole thing. Death as a concept has been explored time and again by more artists than anyone can count, and I Shall Die Here brings nothing fresh to that artistic conceit.

I Shall Die Here is still a scary piece of music. It has enough atmospheric pressure and darkness that in the right situations and in the right state of mind can be enjoyable enough(it makes for some good sleeping music when you are feeling down). But this album clearly has more ambition than its reach can obtain. This isn't the death spinning masterpiece that The Body thought they were making... it's just a lot of scary noises.