The Black Lodge was a sweaty, hot mess on Wednesday night. Subservient Fuck had just riled the crowd up and beads of perspiration were being flung from every direction. Right before Portland metal duo the Body began setting up, someone in the crowd turned on a massive fan to the collective relief of everyone. People began gathering in front of it to cool off.
As soon as the Body hit their first note, the fan served another purpose—it simulated a windstorm.
Between the world-splitting noise emanating from the Body’s huge wall of amps, the wind coming from the fan, and the occasional splash of spilled beer, it honest to God felt like being inside of a dark, wicked rainstorm. The Body’s set was less a musical performance than it was a natural phenomenon.
For a two-piece, the Body is probably one of the loudest bands you will ever see. I am not entirely sure what they do in order to achieve the kind of earth-shattering volume they eke out of their instruments. It’s likely the obscene stack of amps they have piled up behind them, which are not only plugged into Chip King’s guitar, but Lee Buford’s kick drum trigger as well. The heft of the sound actually blew someone’s hat off when the first drop hit.
Rarely does the Body rely on straight riffage. Instead, their song writing tends to be highly conceptual. Take the first song “A Body” off their 2010 release, All the Waters of Earth Turn to Blood. The first seven minutes or so of the 10 minute song consists solely of a beautiful aria by Assembly of Light, a women’s choir from Rhode Island. Slowly, the choral gets dissonant, ever so slightly out of tune with one another’s harmonies. Then, from out of nowhere, the Body drop in and shatter the track in two, launching unexpectedly into a rumbling dirge for the final three minutes of the song. The gambit works every time, I always shudder when the band comes in.
The group’s new EP, Master, We Perish, expands on the group’s conceptual song writing, experimenting more this time with noise and even heavier drumming. The group meditates on negativity in their songs with titles like “The Blessed Lay Down and Writhe in Agony.” Not a breezy summer walk in the park. The two options for shirts for sale at the show said “Hate All Life” on one and “Everything Dies” on the other. The difference between the Body and other bands who delve into darkness is the sincerity with which they do so.
King’s face during the performance was grave, like he had just witnessed a murder. He looked as bewildered as the crowd did at the heft of the sound he was making, his eyes opening wide and trembling during the heaviest moments of the set. When he screamed, he flicked his tongue out like a snake in order to make an anguished hiss of a shout. The set sounded honestly pained, like it hurt them in order to make these sounds. It lasted all of 25 minutes—max. But upon reflection, it was actually quite polite of the band to cut their set short. Any longer and my ears would have melted off.