There are many approaches to the darker sides of the human psyche. Some would rather focus on rage or hatred, spewing forth a torrent of caustic vitriol. Others sink deep into the far reaches of human sadness, exploring ponderous and overbearing depressions and melancholy. Rarely can a band do both, as each segment requires different vocabularies and outlooks on life. However, in those rare cases, anger and depression mix together, creating a potent and heady elixir that is truly disturbing on a deep level. Both acts featured on this EP have spawned numerous ventures into this field. Thou have recently released a brilliant full release titled Heathen, spanning depths of anger and misanthropy which are truly unique. The Body, often mistakenly labelled as dealing with fear, have a long and prolific history of exploring the myriad forms of depression and melancholy.
Fused together, these two bands have created Released from Love, a short sojourn into the nefarious catacombs of the soul. Taking no prisoners, the EP kicks off with the aptly named ‘The Wheel Weaves as the Wheel Wills’, referencing the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan while at the same time letting us know exactly how unimportant we are in this deterministic universe. The sound is characteristic of Thou, featuring absolutely destructive sludge guitars coupled with the vocal work that only they know how to produce. However, with The Body in close support, a second dimension is introduced into the sound: the insanely unique vocals and drums of the duo that is The Body. This impossible to interpret, pagan incantation is perfectly out of tune with Thou’s slow moving weight. What results is a truly disturbing amalgam, anger coated with a rabid depression that is virtually maddening.
In an uncharacteristic manner, perhaps the only manner fitting for this kind of album, we jump to the last track on the album, ‘Coward’. This is a cover of a song by the late Vic Chesnutt, one of the most elusive characters to ever emerge out of the Americana music scene. Taking this already touching track, The Body start us off, infusing what was a folk track with their own un-containable lunacy. As abrasive as they are, one cannot deny the sheer emotion contained in their rendition of this track. When Thou kick in, the listener is already well prepared for what is expected of him: the morose atmosphere and loneliness instilled in him explode in a supernova of misanthropy. Where the original searched for some sympathy for a shattered man, this version spews forth his anger and solitude onto the standers by, pointing a limp and accusing finger at them and their callousness.
In between these two tracks we have ‘Manifest Alchemy’ and ‘In Meetings Hearts Beat Closer’, a title so steeped in sarcasm in light of the rest of the album it almost makes one laugh. The bundling together of these two tracks should not point to a flaw in their quality but rather to the fact that they work together: ‘Manifest Alchemy’ opens in characteristic fashion but then falls completely apart near its end, almost into chaos. ‘In Meetings Hearts Beat Closer’ swoops in to collect these fragments with a ballistic opening that once again falls into a convulsing mess of unrelenting drone. They are Released from Love in a nutshell then: an impossible to pin point journey of two bands well versed in extreme metal into abhorrence and anathema. It uses the two unique sounds to break down, caress and then smother the listener in darkness and ichor.
Thou/The Body – Released From Love gets…