The first sign of what was to come happened after the second of two mildly engaging opening bands finished their set. As The Body moved their gear over towards the stage, and instead of trying to haul their massive amplifiers up onto the actual stage, the band decided to throw everything together right in front of it, despite the venue’s space being only slightly bigger than a two-car garage. The Body’s sparse setup included a bright red drum set, three or four towering amps, and a small digital device on a stand next to the drums. The unusual yet very basic drum kit Lee uses features toms with bottoms that flare open towards the audience, presumably for maximum audibility (it’s a North drum set – more info here). A quick sound check of the bass drum mic revealed that The Body’s electronics setup is capable of adding such a thunderous distortion to the bass drum sound that each kick sounds like it heralds the apocalypse. Interesting. After very little tweaking and minimal sound checking while curious fans crowded around, the guys were good to go.
The band began with the sparse three-note opening motif of ‘Ruiner,’ milking each note for what seemed like several minutes as Lee gradually worked in a basic drum beat. Finally the band kicked into full distortion mode, and you could see the complete shock on people’s faces. The room became so completely overloaded with The Body’s tremendous sound that each note was not only way-past-deafeningly loud, but actually palpable as a vibration in every hair on my body. Lee’s drum work, while perhaps overlooked on the album, was both stick-snappingly brutal and suprisingly impressive from a technical standpoint, and Chip’s utterly maniacal, un-mic’ed vocal screaming was something to behold. The band worked through a couple more tracks from All The Waters of the Earth Turned To Blood before somehow managing to not only pull off an encore despite not being the headliners, but actually make it seem completely genuine and unexpected. Whether they planned it or not, definitely classy. The monstrous opening progression of ‘Song of Sarin, The Brave’ sounded ten times more brutal live, and was the perfect way to close out a pretty amazing set.
Definitely see The Body live if you can. People aren’t kidding when they say that these guys are one of the loudest and heaviest bands you’ll ever see. From what I can tell they pretty much use their own gear wherever they go too, so you’re going to get a great show no matter how shitty the venue is (and believe me, The Morgue is not one of Seattle’s best). Sometimes sludge and doom bands can be pretty boring live, especially if you don’t know the songs, but The Body is definitely not one of them!