2015’s In Case You Missed: You, Whom I Have Always Hated
In the last edition of In Case You Missed, we covered Crowhurst’s Crowhurst, an album that received a large amount of praise outside of the Toilet, but was nearly invisible here. For this edition, we are covering an album that received a large amount of coverage in and out of our Hallowed Bowl. You, Whom I Have Always Hated was released in the very beginning of 2015. Like every year it seems, there has been a frantic amount of quality music to keep with in 2015. You may have forgotten all about The Body’s collaboration with Thou; there is the off chance you missed it entirely.
I’m sort of a latecomer to Thou (see: a poser – None Pose Harder than I). Their 2014 sludge masterpiece, Heathen, was highly praised throughout the entire metal blogosphere and earned high marks on many prominent year end lists. It wasn’t until this year that I really dove into Heathen and much of Thou’s back catalog. On the other hand, The Body is one of my favorite bands at the moment, if you can even call them a band. Sure, it’s two dudes creating music, but they strike me as much as a de facto militant art production squad. They are as much a noise act as a heavy metal band. They tour constantly, release new music at a staggering clip (so much so, it can be hard to keep up with), and team up with bands inside and outside of their scope of sound frequently. I’ve seen them live twice this year: as a nine piece band at a New York noise festival, and the two piece themselves on an opening slot for Neurosis. I proudly own a couple of their shirts and harass people about them as much as almost any other band I frequently tout. Other writers here have described the band as “one note”; what this band does, they do really fucking well.
As mentioned, coverage here was not lacking for this collaboration. Prior to the release of the album I covered a song premier for “Terrible Lie”, a Nine Inch Nails cover which would be featured on the album. W wrote a glowing review of the album upon its release. He later wrote about an upcoming release between The Body and Vampillia (still upcoming as far I’m aware) in which his feelings about You, Whom I Have Always Hated had softened. He described the album as “uneven”, which was a similar criticism lobbed by Grayson Haver Currin of Pitchfork. W and myself agreed the cover of Vic Chesnutt’s “Coward” was brilliant, but I shared his feelings of being underwhelmed by the album after the fact. It was the topic of many of our correspondences, and I have given a good deal of thought to how a particular piece of music can affect us as time passes. Here’s the thing: You, Whom I Have Always Hated just came back into my listening rotation with a vengeance.
The version of the album I’ve been playing with aplomb is Release From Love and You, Whom I Have Always Hated minus the covers of “Coward” and “Terrible Lie”, leaving eight original tracks over forty minutes of music. It does lean heavily on Thou’s brand of tectonic plate-shift sludge. Thick, downtuned guitars share center stage with deep growls from Thou’s vocalist Bryan Funck. Chip King’s shrieks blend in with Funck’s growls at times for long, unimaginable howls. Songs begin in squalls of squealing feedback and fill with distortion. The drumming often remind me of The Body’s incredible New York performance: complex, oppressive, the work of many men in tandem. The Body’s sound makes clever and nuanced appearances on this record – check out “He Returns to the Place of His Iniquity” for a great example. Blown out static, vocal samples, and a low synth create an uneasy vibe before the final devastating track. Despite both band’s histories of impressively covering other bands, the lack of covers on the eight songs actually works to its advantage.
I have to wonder if the “you” in the album’s title is not a person at all, but God or some other spiritual entity. I haven’t ever looked up lyrics for the band, but The Body’s body of work is littered with references to religion, saints, and things apart from this material world. A quick browsing of their song and album titles easily confirms that. Even Thou’s Heathen calls to mind a non-religious person, and remember they are from America’s Deep South where religion reigns. One might chuckle in agreement to the sentiment of fuck religion; I believe both bands are more clever and beyond such an easily decipherable message. The puzzle has added to my recent fanfare of this record. Like many of 2014’s albums that I missed, glazed over, or loved and returned to (Yautja’s Songs of Descent, the aforementioned Heathen, and Vermin Womb’s Permanence, among others) You, Whom I Have Always Hated is growing on me with each consecutive listen.
News recently surfaced of the long awaited collaboration between The Body & Krieg, due out November 13th. You can also expect The Body’s collaboration with Full of Hell (recorded during their 2015 tour together) to be released in 2016. It would be wise to expect more from them soon too, because The Body doesn’t seem to ever put the brakes on.
Cover image via