Supergroup is a weird fucking term. And completely objective. For me, an artist like Old Man Gloom is the definition of a supergroup put in the same realm as, say, Down, there’ll inevitably be people who are all “Who is even in this band?” (For the record, OMG features members of Cave In, Isis, and Converge i.e. most of the Mount Rushmore of Boston heavy). Again, objective. Which brings us to similarly underground supergroup Absent In Body who feature in their ranks members of Amenra, Neurosis, and Sepultura and have a debut release that, as an essential part of this “supergroup” formula, sounds unlike anything that makes up the sum of its’ parts.
But I digress.
Despite some familiar faces, don’t expect Absent In Body to sound like Neurosis 2.0 or some next level Amenra shit. Hell, the person responsible for some of the thrashiest drum licks not created by the Big 4 is like a caged beast on debut release Plague God trading speed for somber steadfast stick work instead. But that’s not to say there’s not some parts of Absent In Body that don’t sound vaguely familiar to what those other outfits do so well on the regular. Amenra’s Colin H van Eeckhout is an undeniable powerhouse behind the mic and his work here will definitely bring to mind that Belgium band. Same with the atmospheric and dirge-like quality that’s ever present here and reminiscent of Scott Kelly’s day job in Neurosis. But recreating familiar sounds is not what Absent In Body is all about so with the likes of Amenra’s Mathieu Vandekerckhove and the legendary Igor Cavalera along for the ride with Kelly and van Eeckhout, the quartet ready a debut that’s five tracks and almost forty minutes of pure Heavy destructive bliss.
“Rise From Ruins” is apocalyptical, catastrophic even with vocals ranging from a gnarly guttural growl to an ear piercing screech from van Eeckhout to make not only the most perfect introduction to Absent In Body’s debut, but also the most fitting entrance theme for All Elite Wrestling’s House Of Black faction (HOB leader Malakai Black has regularly used Amenra’s “Ogentroost” as his entrance music as well). “In Spirit In Spite” is like old school Godflesh, as in “Christbait Rising” era, if it was moving like molasses with Cavalera getting to flex his chops with some of the slowest but still groove-filled performances of his career accompanied by a nice bass hum from van Eeckhout that underscores the spoken-word segment that wraps up this eight minute and change beastie.
“Sarin” is gargantuan with a stunning vocal performance from start to finish that can only be described as monstrous while “The Acres/The Ache” is a retching drone before turning into some kind of Sigur Ros-like atmospheric experimentation before bowing out once again amidst short spurts of unholy Doom. “The Half Rising Man” begins in a melvins-style funk/haze (Think “Shevil” off Stoner Witch) but veers off the beaten path to conclude the record with one of the most furious blasts of Heavy that’s primal and pummeling as it grows and grows like a snowball of nascent noise rolling down a hill that, once it picks up speed, is unstoppable. Like Absent In Body.