The thing about the way The Body vocalist Chip King screams on "An Altar or A Grave" is that is sounds like he's actually screaming, straining against the organic grain of his own vocal chords in a manner that feels almost completely divorced from whatever culturally conditioned ideas you might have about what a human scream should sound like. It's the way that you might imagine a human being to sound in the midst of real physical danger, or real physical pain, which is probably why I feel an instant fight-or-flight response when I listen to this song, amplified of course by the massive waves of bass that crash sporadically into our sonic space here, as if driven by the momentary whims of some remote, remorseless deity. And maybe that's also why I keep hopefully searching for signs of movement in the hands and feet of the shadowy, hooded figure that stars in this very Richard Rankin-directed, home movie-like video for the cut, as though I'm bearing witness to an actual death by drowning, powerless to do anything about it, hoping beyond hope that that's not what I'm seeing. It's probably the most horrifying thing I've seen all year, which is why I'm curious to check out The Body's upcoming Christs, Redeemers LP (out October 15th via Thrill Jockey), but I'm experiencing a tightening of the throat just thinking about it.
September 27, 2013