Friday, April 16, 2010

Whip & The Body - Here On Exile 7" (2008)
Altars/Whip & The Body - Split 7" (2009)

Did you guys catch the latest TMZ? The drummer from Drunkdriver is a rapist! Yeah, old news to you underground insider types, I know. Or maybe all those girls are lying and his (now former) bandmates need to stop acting like uptight cunts and not break up just because they're experiencing the natural human impulse to grow overwhelmed by a sense of mistrust and deceit whenever a person finds out that someone close to them has been feeding them bullshit for an extended period of time. Maybe you've never been there. It's not fun, believe me. Or maybe that's not why they broke up. Maybe they just don't want to get raped. Frankly, though, it's none of our business. The facts aren't straight so let's not pretend that we know. Here's hoping that Jeremy moves to another city, starts a new band, and continues to rape people until the band breaks up. Third time's a charm, as they say.

Just playin', LOL. Drunkdriver was a damn good band and one of the best of its kind. They will be missed. I'm also going to assume that Whip & The Body has ended up as another tragic casualty of this whole fiasco. Whip & The Body was a collaboration between Jeremy Villalobos and Michael Berdan, drummer and vocalist for the aforementioned Drunkdriver, respectively. While Kristy was off shedding guitar exercises, the other two thirds of the group turned to the exciting world of brutal power electronics. Noise that is harsh. Harsh noise. All kinds of feedback, screaming, low end rumblings, whatever the fuck. Everything distorting into ungodly realms. You get the idea. From what I gather, their first 7" is occasionally referred to as "Here On Exile" and occasionally as just "Whip & The Body." Sometimes it has that bitchin' cover art and sometimes it's just black with the band name in white text. I don't know what is going on there. Two three minute pieces on side one that take no prisoners, flip it over (or keep your media player of choice running, more likely) and you have an extended industrial face shitter that is as bleak as it is nausea inducing. Gets real loud at the end, whew! Watch out for this one!

The following year saw the release of a split 7" with Altars. Once again, there is a major cover art issue. I count three separate covers showing up on the world wide web. One is inspired minimalist bullshit, one is half-assed minimalist bullshit, and the other is a lovely aesthetically pleasing photograph. I like that one so I posted it. On side one, you have Altars performing their hit "Wood & Rope." The music is recognizable as black metal but also happens to be drowning in a great deal of noise that threatens to knock any sort of "rock" foundation out from under its feet. That never happens, though, and this devastatingly ugly music never becomes any less "metal." Kind of like with Portal. Kind of. A little bit.

Side two, though. Jesus christ! This was my first taste of Whip & The Body and it remains a stunning piece of music. "Black Dahlia Pig" is a continuation of the aesthetic reflected in the most successful Drunkdriver tracks. It also manages to one-up them. I always thought the best thing about a song like "Knife Day" was how it managed to just rip out of the fucking speakers. For a band that had no bass player and preferred to keep dynamic range to a minimum, they sure made up for it with a powerful sound driven by sheer brutality. All that carries over on Jeremy and Michael's contribution to this split. It is a fucking intense six minutes of music. If you're going to take on an amateurish lo-fi junkshop approach to noise, this is how it's done. The pulverizing walls of static might as well be tangible. Sometimes it's like the first time I listened to Land of Lurches. And every now and then, the track grinds to a halt and treats the listener to some jarring silence. By the end, you'll have endured quite the journey. Worth your time, money, hard drive space, risk of having your mind split open, all that. Further proof that these guys know a thing or two about making music that's not utter shit. Hopefully they'll continue doing so. If not together, then apart.

Rating: That first 7" is okay, I guess. Play the Altars split right after and you'll forget that it even exists, though.

Download Link: "Black Dahlia Pig"

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