The Body and Full of Hell return with their second collaboration in Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light (Thrill Jockey), and let’s just say it is one hell of a trip. Alone, both these acts are devastating in their own means. Both of them have this power to produce such immense and dark emotions, and create music that vibrates with unease, pain, and agony. Together, they create an ominous force of chaos and insanity, playing off the other’s strengths to create a sound that is evil and terrifying.
Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light plays off The Body’s noise and electronic elements, whereas Full of Hell provide the death metal and grind qualities to the music. These styles make themselves apparent within the album’s first two tracks. “Light Penetrates” focuses more on the vocals of The Body, as they give off their iconic screeching, striking with unnerving horror. The minimal noise of electronic sounds are in abundance, as Full of Hell layer on distortion, along with a dark and slow drum beat. “Earth is a Cage” shifts the attention over to Full Of Hell, the material blasting away with metallic drums, and noisy distorted guitar and bass work. Their death growls take over most of the song, but eventually are woven in with the vocals of The Body, making for a blend that, despite the differences in style, presents a unique combination that ends up being catchy.
The Body appears to get a little more treatment instrumentally and vocally, but this doesn’t necessarily result in anything negative, but something that may turn off fans looking for more of the death-grind elements of Full of Hell. It’s important to note though that those heavier qualities do pop up, just not a ton. Overall there is a fair amount of talent on both ends being shared, whether that means they both equally contribute to a single track, or the record takes turns highlighting one of the acts specifically. An example of this is in “The King Laid Bare”, where primarily the song has a stronger focus on The Body. Their vocals take over most of the work, along with their haunting ambient electronic instrumentation. That being said, Full of Hell eventually does drop into the piece, providing vocals over hellish drum blasts. “Didn’t the Night End” demonstrates an excellent balance between the two groups, allowing the Full of Hell vocals to come over the minimal electronic tones.
The majority of Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light gives off an atmosphere of disturbing bliss. The music produces feelings of despair and grime that beat, blast, and tear away with otherworldly instrumentation and structure. Some of the music is even fairly catchy, using the electronic elements to give off a hip semi-danceable tone (such as in “Didn’t the Night End”). Once again, The Body and Full of Hell prove that when they come together to create music, they are able to create truly sinister work. Both groups demonstrate their abilities in producing chilling auras through unique instrumentation, balancing the lines of entertaining and atmospheric. Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light is an odd album for sure, but is also a fun collection of bizarre treats.