Portland duo the Body dropped into in Los Angeles to perform another wall-rattling drone-and-gasp performance at the Echo on Tuesday night. Since they released their second full-length LP, All The Waters of the Earth Turn to Blood, in 2010, the Body have consistently acted as extreme music’s most willing participants, conspiring to release collaborative efforts with a full roster of artists including Braveyoung, Thou, https://thou.bandcamp.com/, Krieg, Uniform, the Haxan Cloak, and Full of Hell.
Despite press rumblings that opener Lingua Ignota‘s Kristin Hayter might be joining the duo onstage (presumably for supplemental vocals), the Body performed only as themselves — churning through a 45-minute set with pummeling efficiency. Although they’ve moved towards as electronic elements recently, the set was entirely guitar and drums with massive wobbling feedback (that may or may not have been intentional). Without the electronic elements, I was left in a bind trying to recognize any individual track. The songs were all different, yes, but Chip’s wheeze-scream never gives listeners any recognizable words and the guitar tone remained the same for the majority of the set.
Knowing the songs proved inconsequential, though. The Body were up to their usual tricks — a slow, stumbling distortion and a scream, crafted with more foreboding and creativity than 99% of the metal bands in existence. In a nice reversal, the crowd seemed to gain interest as the show progressed, everyone nodding with increased vigor after 10, 20, 30 minutes of the Body’s drone show.
Lingua Ignota’s opening set was kind of like taking the Body and flipping it upside down. Hayter is an amazing singer and unafraid to operate in total clarity but also wants to throw noise and screaming at the audience. Performing on the floor, I could barely see her through the crowd, but she was heard, loud and beautifully clear. It’s no surprise then that the Body already collaborated with her for vocals on their latest album I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer. We all cry for help sometimes, and yet the Body always get the best responses.