In Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5, Billy Pilgrim is a war veteran with a peculiar predicament: he’s got himself ‘unstuck in time’. Pilgrim experiences time all at once, rather than forward-moving and constant-rate. ‘All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist‘.
When one hears a band like Body Hound, with their pithy textures and bamboozling song structures, reactions might be that this is the sound of the future. Possibly. One could claim that they nod to the past, particularly the era of progressive rock (which, ironically, stopped progressing in mainstream capacity around the late 70’s). Again, possible. Or maybe they are simply another spawn from the contemporary djent diaspora. Sure, possible.
But realistically, Body Hound was, and is (and will be?), a band that speaks a new language through the collage of old wares. Their sound is unashamedly excessive and indulgent like the prog rockers and their djenting, chugga-chuggy peers, but it’s also a sound that assuages the flamboyance of, say, Dream Theater in favor of something more punchy and jagged, almost within the realm of early math rock greats like Shellac or Breadwinner.
But there’s still more to it. Turn the distortion pedals off and the multifarious nature of their sound, laden with complex counterpoint melodies and intricate structures, channels the likes of Stravinsky, Mussorgsky and Wagner. In this way, the band very much capture the spirit of the prog rockers who wore their classical influences on their sleeves (some more blatantly than others).
Instead of confining themselves to the present, like bugs trapped in amber, Body Hound wander through musical time as they please. The result is nothing short of fascinating. The brooding, knotty nature of these new tracks, along with the portentous 2001: A Space Odyssey-esque monoliths that adorn the albums cover, paint an eerie darkness. The aggression and technical proficiency that fueled 2014’s Rhombus Now returns in equal dosage. No Moon is a simulacrum, combining musical substances from multiple eras. And doing it well.
Body Hound’s full length debut ‘No Moon’ is out on Friday (20/9). You can pre-order the album over at their Bandcamp page. Try not to sleep on it, eh?