Uniform / The Body

Mental Wounds Not Healing/Everything That Dies Someday Comes Back

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Uniform and the Body are two duos who have consistently challenged, and sometimes obliterated, the boundaries between genres such as metal, noise, punk, and industrial. They both make intense, violent music utilizing deconstructed samples and copious amounts of hair-raising screaming, and they both write about topics such as depression, anxiety, hopelessness, anger, and death. As the two acts geared up for a tour together in 2017, they immediately began discussing potential collaborations. Uniform's Michael Berdan appeared on the Body's 2018 full-length I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer., and the two acts released the LP Mental Wounds Not Healing, followed a year later by Everything That Dies Someday Comes Back; both were released as a single CD.

Mental Wounds is brief and to the point, containing seven songs of pummeling electronic beats, searing feedback noise, and duels pitting Berdan's punkish snarl against Chip King's piercing shrieks. It's highly claustrophobic and unsettling, and it's an extremely powerful release of negative emotions. While the album consistently maintains a bleak, enraged attitude throughout, the tracks vary in different styles. "The Curse of Eternal Life" is a hard drum'n'bass thrill ride, with rapid skittering beats and Berdan's voice distorted so that it sounds like a Dalek. "Come and See" crawls to the depths of sludge, with nervous vibrations bubbling up from brutally slow drum crashes. "The Boy with Death in His Eyes" is more of an industrial death shuffle, with waves of metallic fuzz covering a crisply distorted machine beat. Even though the album's songs are unmistakably grim and terror-stricken, and there isn't much of a positive message to any of it, the anthemic qualities of songs like "Empty Comforts" still manage to sound affirming and even soothing.

Everything That Dies is just as powerful and boundary-crushing as its predecessor. Elements of dark synth pop and Southern rap creep into the musical brew -- the musicians find much common ground between the various configurations of blown-out drum machines and icy, ominous melodies. Doomy goth synths slowly emerge out of the explosive drum pounding of "Not Good Enough," while "Vacancy" is stormier and more anthemic. The alarming "Patron Saint of Regret" is an easy highlight, beginning with a shouted warning over dissolved metal guitars, then switching to booming trap beats and ghostly vocals by Kennedy Ashlyn of SRSQ. "Penance" is a sort of bizarro club anthem, with melted new wave keyboards adding a slight bit of sugar to the slamming drums and harrowing screams. "Day of Atonement" revolves around a queasy, molasses-slow rap sample, acknowledging the influence of Dirty South trailblazers Three 6 Mafia and DJ Screw. Saving the grimmest for last, "Waiting for the End of the World" features a sample of the infamous doomsday cult leader Elizabeth Clare Prophet laid over a dark ambient drone, and "Contempt" opens with an extremely vitriolic, misanthropic rant. Uniform and the Body are both fascinating and terrifying on their own, and their creative superpowers only multiply when they're together.

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