Having polished their sound to perfection, The Body have long existed in the outer peripheries of the metal scene, pushing at boundaries, gleefully ignoring genre, and occasionally terrifying the curious with their raw and intense approach. Unlike many of their contemporaries, their collaborations with other artists tend to be as exciting and groundbreaking as their own work. Mental Wounds Not Healing finds both limbs of The Body, Lee Buford and Chip King, joining Michael Berdan and Ben Greenberg of Uniform to create a full body of work that bubbles with invention.
Recorded around the same time as The Body were completing their latest album I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer, Mental Wounds Not Healing unsurprisingly carries over some of the sound of The Body’s latest effort (Partly Alive for example would fit well into this collaborative effort). However, for the most part, this coming together a perfect union of both entities. Uniform’s guitar heavy scree is present and correct, albeit downtuned, slowed, and coated with a thick layer of blackened grime, whist the beats – created by King and Buford – skitter, thunder and crush in equal measure.
King’s unmistakable screamed howl fills each of these songs like a cry from the depths of an abandoned asylum, but Berdan’s growled sneer is never overwhelmed; what transpires is akin to a barely coherent dialogue that functions entirely on timbre and timing. From within these searing songs, a new language seems to have been formed.In truth, King’s trademark howl is used, in part, like an instrument. Its presence here is not unlike the serrated horn parts that populated early Public Enemy albums and its function, to startle and unsettle, is similar.
At a mere 27 minutes, Mental Wounds only has a brief time to make an impression, but it does so with ease. The grinding nature of the likes of Come And See somehow seems to slow time and those 27 minutes seem to stretch out to infinity. Not that Mental Wounds is a tedious album at all, in fact it seems to have an immersive, hypnotic quality, despite its tendency for short sharp shocks. Beneath the veneer of sleaze, grunge and noise, there’s actually some fine tunes lurking. In My Skin for example could almost (but not quite) be described as catchy. Huge riffs, distorted beats, and barely there guitar motifs combine to make an expansive gothic epic. Empty Comforts meanwhile is as close as this album gets to the dancefoor, sounding not unlike a slowly rusting Nine Inch Nails.
Mental Wounds Not Healing is a good launch point for those eager to discover both The Body and Uniform. It’s also one of those rare collaborative efforts that perfectly combines the aesthetics of everyone involved.