Show Me the Body-Body War_Album Review

Show Me the Body may serve as proof that the almighty Death Grips have fundamentally changed the way we consume punk music.  Although the group easily fits into the punk idiom, with grimy bass bottoming out a generally rough atmosphere as explosive violence drips out of every lyric, sonically speaking, the group seems to be most closely related to a certain experiment that has been widening the eyes of critics since 2011. Wordy vocals punch with the same spirited brutality of MC Ride, with crisp instrumental work modeling the chaos of Zach Hill.  Despite this relatively obvious comparison, the group’s new album, Body Way, comes together decently well, with certain songs making the case for the band’s potential.

Beginning with a vicious guitar groove and a no-holds scream, title track “Body War” kicks off the album in a big way, immediately committing to an energetic sound.  Lyrically, the band is always a bit difficult to decipher, but some of the standout lines include “cops coming down on me” and “stuck inside,” which add to the overall emotional effect of the song.  The quick-hitting tracks that follow maintain the same spirit with mixed results.  “Chrome Exposed” is certainly a highlight, its building electronic sound effect assaulting listeners between more mellow verse deliveries.  From here, the record offers a big change in sound, electing to emphasize space; “Honesty Hour” being a duet between ambient electric guitar and screaming human being, and “Metallic Taste” offering a more droning effort.  The album then finds completion with a few more stints in violence, again finding mixed results.  “New Language” may be the strongest cut on the record, with a groove straight out of the DC hardcore era.

One of the issues with the record comes in the middle, where the band tries to contrast their usual violence with a pair of much more subdued tracks.  Although it is important to avoiding stalling out on similar sounding songs, these tracks shed light on the band’s songwriting weaknesses.  As stated earlier, “Honesty Hour” is essentially a bunch of screaming construed over guitar.  The song really just comes across as weak, the vocals blaring over some worthless guitar noodling, esoteric lyrics insisting upon the necessity of an hour of honesty.  The following song “Metallic Taste” is more mellow with lazy vocal melodies accompanying an equally lackluster guitar(?) part.  The song offers some interesting lyricism with phrases spilling into one another, “Metallic Taste, Metallic Ways” refers to the taste of blood in one’s mouth and the speaker’s knife wielding ways.  “Blood” becomes an obsession of sorts, the speaker continuously circling around the word.  Perhaps a more intriguing sonic space could have brought more life out of these lyrics.  Besides the weak middle section of the album, there are also weak songs throughout that fail to live up to the other moments of light.  “Aspirin” offers little with screams sounding over the top, whereas “Worth One” relies too heavily on a heavy handed guitar lick.

The experience is certainly not all bad, but the album does not quite find enough consistency from front to back.  More songs that emphasize groove with slightly clearer vocal delivery could retain more intrigue on their next project.  Also, if the band is to include slow tunes in the future, they need to spend more time with the overall structure.

-Donovan Burtan

Some good songs some not great. Decent amount of potential. 6/10

 

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