Brother Vincent was nice enough to let me take the reigns this week but rest assured, he’ll be back with a vengeance soon. Today I’m featuring a pairing that on first glance or taste or listen didn’t seem like it would gel. But, upon further inspection it was just what the doctor ordered. Behold, the Body‘s I have fought against it, But I can’t any longer. and Wicked Weed Brewing‘s Napoleon Complex for this Receiving the Evcharist.
The Metal: the Body’s I have fought against it, But I can’t any longer
the Body probably have as many followers as they do detractors but the thing about them is that they could care less. Their rebellious and downtrodden attitude — this is not nor ever has been ‘feel good’ music — when it comes to making music has always been something I’m keen to try out with each new release. From extreme metal to trance to sludge, they never make the same album twice and the fact that their sixth full length (not counting all their collabs and splits), I have fought against it, But I can’t any longer. is taken, in full, from their own samples should be some indication of their flippant attitude towards the status quo. The title, an excerpt from Virginia Wolfe’s suicide note, sums up the kind of gloom and depression encountered once your entry ticket is punched. And, it’s a ticket to the car crash just to be clear. But that’s where their genius sneaks in, Chip King’s disembodied howl jars the senses while he and Lee Buford hurl synthesized madness at a furious rate. Meanwhile noise, electro-sonic beats, and disturbing atmosphere lay waste to your emotions and expectations. The duo’s work on some of their many collaborations such as with Krieg and Full of Hell have been intriguing but in their body of full lengths, this is their most jagged work since I Shall Die Here. “Partly Alive” comes off like a death knell of some epic Viking warrior whose thoughts of grandeur were bigger than his actual ability to deliver and “The West Has Failed” is what one might hear in their head when the end times arrive. On closer “Ten Times a Day, Every Day, a Stranger” it occurred to me I’ve yet to hear a track that rivals the desolation that washed over me on my first encounter with Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s “Dead Flag Blues.” And even though sonically and thematically different it still holds that same ‘gaping through a hole in the soul’ feeling which in the right mindset can be quite an experience. Even further than the efforts of King and Buford are the contributions of guest vocalists here that paint an even more disturbing, haunting picture. Sounds weird right? I won’t spoil it anymore so just take a test drive and see for yourself. With the Body it’s not all about grinding guitars and earthquake inducing riffs or electrifying tremolo work, it’s more in what’s inferred from what you’re hearing that makes them such a unique and eclectic sort of heavy. Stroke of genius or dumb luck, you’ll have to decide that for yourself.
The Beer: Wicked Weed Brewing’s Napoleon Complex
Which brings us to Wicked Weed Brewing’s Napoleon Complex and my initial statement of these two quite possibly not being a good match. I’m a big time believer in my local breweries and over the past few years we’ve gained several good ones to choose from: Brvtal, Wicked Weed, Sierra Nevada, Quest, Birds Fly South and many others which makes my possibilities endless and quite difficult when reaching for something new. Napoleon Complex won out this time and ‘makes Jack a very happy boy.’ It features a lower ABV at 5.2% and the IBU was also low at 47. Since my preferences generally tend towards the higher range of both of these but particularly the bitterness I initially thought the kick required to go all in with the Body’s unhinged noise would be missing. But, this is a local brew and it had amazing art on the packaging so why not? The results are an IPA that has an extreme amount of hoppiness and a slow burning bitter that crept up like one of Chip King’s howls. The bonus with this IPA is that it sits lightly on the stomach so it’s a shoe in for a day’s worth of summertime refreshment. The parallels between this and the Body are simple; both may be unassuming and small in stature yet both creep up and kick you square in the face when it comes to intensity and longevity. I wasn’t expecting Napoleon Complex to be as full bodied while extremely drinkable as it is nor was I expecting much from an album that presented itself as a rehash of samples. But, color me surprised on both counts and more than pleased with these choices.
That does it for this week. By the time you read this I’ll be pouring a Napoleon and easing into something noisy and extreme, hopefully pool or lake side. I hope you’ll be doing the same. Until next week, when brother Vince will rule this column again, cheers!