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Album Review: The Body - No One Deserves Happiness

Photo via Bandcamp

By Jonathan Fuchs, Copy Editor

[Thrill Jockey; 2016]

Rating: 8.5/10

Key Tracks: “Shelter is Illusory,” “Two Snakes,” “Prescience”

Nobody probably ever thought something as odd sounding as pop-inspired sludge metal would come about, but here we are. Just sitting down and trying to think about the end result of the combination will drive anyone crazy. It is such an insane, ambitious idea that it may seem as though it could never be good. However, Portland-based duo The Body will make you rethink your entire existence with No One Deserves Happiness, which takes this idea and perfectly rolls with it, making it one of the most intense and grimy albums of the year so far.

No One Deserves Happiness is kind of comparable to a thunderstorm; all of the really intense parts come in long, droning, frightening episodes. These episodes surround the entire album and bring more of the metal atmosphere The Body is usually known for. Its trademark sound, which combines elements of various styles of metal, is still evident on this record, but each song is a lot more active with its rhythms, making this the most danceable album The Body has ever released.

The pop influences on No One Deserves Happiness are present in the percussion, which is usually blaring through 808 bass and very well produced toms. This is extremely clear on songs like “Two Snakes,” with a booming 808 rhythm that repeats all over the track, the opener “Wanderings,” which contains both electronic and traditional drums and “For You,” which has extremely fast drumming reminiscent of Zach Hill.

No One Deserves Happiness is the weirdest metal album to be released in a long, long time. Not really because of its disturbing atmosphere, or Chip King’s squeals that surround the background of each track, or because of collaborator Chrissy Wolpert’s intense theatrical, opera-like vocals - but because it keeps a constant catchy, danceable feel throughout its runtime. The best way to describe this record would be to call it the soundtrack for a nightclub Satan’s cool cousin would own.

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