Death is never far from The Body's mind. (One of the band's T-shirts, in fact, sports the happy little phrase, "Death to Everything.") The doom-metal duo has been making a boundaryless racket for 15 years now, reaching across the genre aisle to choirs, post-rock and fellow metal bands. (Seriously, the new Thou collaboration is insane.) It's ironic, given The Body's name and worldview, that I Shall Die Here feels like a rebirth.
It's not clear whether the dark electronic musician Bobby Krlic (a.k.a. The Haxan Cloak) takes the crushing source material here and re-arranges it all like Brutalist architecture, or if there's more of a hands-on process involved. Or both. In any case, it's imposing, it's righteously anguished, it's death by concrete.
Director Jason Evans feels the same way, and this stunning short film, At the Mercy of It All, takes those blocks and moves them into the woods and into the mind of a man apart, using different pieces of I Shall Die Here to score his descent:
Listening to The Body's I Shall Die Here, I was pulled into this landscape that had been created; an incredibly visual account of death, tragedy and loss. I had this image of a man, his face covered in dirt, but his arms still moving and his eyes open. Body and soil.
The image reminded me of the kind of parallels artist Robert Smithson made between geological change and the fragility of the mind, which in turn gave me the emotional content of the film.
To quote Smithson, "One's mind and the earth are in a constant state of erosion, mental rivers wear away abstract banks, brain waves undermine cliffs of thought, ideas decompose into stones of unknowing, and conceptual crystallizations break apart into deposits of gritty reason."
I Shall Die Here is out now on RVNG Intl.