The Body Deliver Punishing Set in Austin, TX (SHOW REVIEW)

The Body have now spent almost twenty years at the forefront of avant-garde and experimental metal, working along the way with bands like Thou, Full of Hell, and Lingua Ignota, who opened for them on their current tour. That tour rumbled its way to Austin’s Barracuda on Wednesday, July 25.

Lingua Ignota, the pseudonym of classically trained singer Kristin Hayter, started things off with a stunningly intimate set, with Hayter setting up a keyboard on the floor in the midst of the audience. She poured her heart out as she sang and wailed through viciously emotional music in the dimly lit room, bringing the audience to captivated silence. No one dared interrupt what was happening before them as her melodies rose and fell in intensity.

The duo of guitarist and vocalist Chip King and drummer Lee Buford took the stage promptly afterwards and the Body commenced to punishing the crowd. Ripping through a set consisting of some of their heaviest and most straightforward doom metal jams, the Body forewent their typical experimentation in favor of crushingly heavy riffage. One was surprised that Hayter did not join them after Lingua Ignota’s hauntingly beautiful contributions to the Body’s latest release, I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer.

Still, the Body’s focus on strictly playing their more metal material resulted in a rowdier audience and a more fun performance, a word one would not typically use to describe the Body. Wrapping up after forty minutes by playing a sample of the classic MASH theme song “Suicide is Painless,” the Body exited the stage as silently as they had come on and left the audience in a state of blissful bewilderment at the experience they had just undertaken.

Given their amorphous song structures and atypical approach to music, a show by the Body could really have turned into anything. Instead, they stuck to the songs and screamed and kicked their way through brutal harmonies, much to the delight of the Barracuda crowd. With Lingua Ignota’s ethereal opening performances on hand as well, this is truly a tour not to be missed for anyone who is open-minded in the metal scene.

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