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Album Review: THE BODY & OAA Enemy Of Love

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It is unusual that a band truly occupies its own space and sound. Yet for years now, Portland, OR's The Body has managed to do just that. Though the band originally started out more as a doom metal band in with their 2004 release, it was evident by the time All The Waters Of The Earth Turn To Blood that The Body's sound was moving into other territories, and by the time I Have Fought Against It, But I Can't Any Longer hit, they were utilizing less traditional means of writing by embracing more electronics and theatrics. And throughout it all, the band has maintained a consistent heavy, dense, noisy, blown-out sound album after album. Sometimes it is miserable, sometimes it is beautifully miserable. But the biggest thing to note about what The Body can do is how fluid and moldable their sound is with other bands. Enter their latest collaborative release with OAA, Enemy of Love.

For the uninitiated, Los Angeles, CA's OAA (real name AJ Wilson) produces noisy postindustrial techno. It is distorted and heavy, sometimes disorienting, and never very calm. This is not the first time OAA has worked with The Body, however. OAA was featured on the Remixed album released in 2019, offering a cut up version of "Adamah," originally from the masterful No One Deserves Happiness. If one wants to further familiarize themselves with OAA's work, Contracted Reality from 2021 is a fantastic record. But just the descriptor "postindustrial techno" should be a good sign that this is something that would mesh very well with The Body's already huge sound.

It will come as no shock that Enemy of Love is a very heavy album with a dark, miserable, eerie mood. The shrieks of Chip King continue to feed horror and anxiety through the records, and Lee Buford's drumming is still thunderous. The sound is significantly elevated with the addition of OAA. As The Body delivers their rumbling horror show, OAA kicks in, laying down some shaky, noisy beats or distorting some soundscape. The presence is apparent once "Devauled" kicks in. Heavy instrumental slams, droning doom, and a beat in the background that loops. The sound crackles and the mood for the record is perfectly set.

Listening to Enemy of Love can be a two-fold exercise. One can put it on and watch the room melt into the void over ten tracks. But there are a lot of things that slip into and around the crackling dimensions that might not be immediately apparent. OAA adds a lot of small things into the mix, whether it be distorting some vocals, or The Body cutting out, or even adding some harsh noise touches (see "Hired Regard"). This makes the album some to better experience via headphones, especially if one has some open-back or noise cancelling.

Enemy of Love, while it is a collaboration album, can feel more like a record by The Body featuring OAA. The Body's sound is monolithic though and casts a very large shadow. OAA still has their standout moments on the record and overall things feel like they work as a cohesive whole. "Fortified Tower," for example, has a lot more OAA pretense on it for a chunk of the song. But for the most part, most songs are like "Obsessed Luxury" where it sounds like both artists compliment one another and work to accomplish a sound more sinister.

Though The Body is now well documented in the halls of extreme and experimental music, one has to wonder how much more their listenership will expand. They are vast but they are not limitless. Here, they keep things in territory that longtime listeners will find them comfortable in. And with the added hand of OAA, Enemy of Love the album comes together in a tight and terrifying way. Though The Body and OAA may be enemies of love, Enemy of Love has a dark alchemy that brings out the best in both bands and unleashes a brooding nightmare of an album.

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