Album: At the End of Time
Few objects imply the finality and true cessation of life that a bodybag does. You don’t seem them when someone’s simply sick or unwell—you don’t seem in cases of anxiety or panic, and you don’t see them just…lying around. They only show up in instances of cold-blooded, rash and ruthless murder; the byproduct of brutal violence and carnage.
You might be picking up on a theme: carnage, violence, cold-blooded and brutality. All of these words strike fear and concern into the heart of man, and all of these words could be used to describe the 2017 album by Illinois aggressors Bodybag, At the End of Time. Hard-hearted and heavier than hell, At the End of Time takes monstrous and anthemic death metal influences and blends them with a foundation of beatdown hardcore tougher than the nails used to crucify Christ. Delightfully rough around the edges and thoroughly ruthless, Bodybag are a melting pot of many kinds of murderously heavy music in one lethal, lurid and sinister display of depravity.
At the End of Time is a mammoth music effort despite its relatively short run time. Built on a foundation of heavy hardcore and beatdown but with a core structure comprised of an integral love of raunchy, riffy death metal, Bodybag are brutal in more ways than you can count. From the opening seconds of “Storming the Gates of Hell,” the group’s percussion is punishing, oscillating between ludicrous speed on “Acto De Contrition” and “Ritual Damnation” to sludgy, slam-dusted devastation on “Chaos Infinite,” the band’s entire amalgam of aggressive musical stylings is centered about their crushing percussion. Amazingly fast at points yet bouncy at others, even the quicker portions are held down with a thick and leaden coat of crushing bass guitar—which works side by side with soaring metallic riffs on “Storming the Gates of Hell” and “Fighting the Demon Horde,” yet adds punch and power to the relentless breakdowns and mountain-leveling slams on “Chaos Infinite.” From dynamic and dense bass to incinerating drumming and incessant riffing, At the End of Time is built from the ground up with hard, raw and unbreakable instrumental elements to keep it crushing for its entirety. This is especially true of the exceptional opening number and “Chaos Infinite,” which sound pretty much what an elephant taking a ten-ton shit on your chest would feel like. Rib-cracking, lung-deflating and heart-stoppingly heavy.
Bodybag’s amazing dynamism is continued with their vocal effort, which hits raw and ear-shredding barks and yells a la old-school heavy hardcore and grisly gutturals a la contemporary brutal death metal. Save the instrumental segments of this 20-minute takedown of an album, Bodybag beat the hell out of the listener’s ears with several vocal styles and even a couple different languages—adding diversity in ways many of the band’s contemporaries aren’t linguistically capable of. Songs like “Acto de Contrition” exemplify this—as even when the listener doesn’t really know what the band’s frontman is saying, they know it makes them want to beat the living daylights out of anyone and everyone in a ten foot radius. At the End of Time’s vocal element—raw, in keeping with the remainder of the album—may take a little getting used to, but when the listener finally wraps their ears around it, they’ll be hooked, in love with the raw delivery of every syllable and the crushing, thematic elements that make the band’s vocal element such an ideal compliment to their instrumentation.
Taking the kill-or-be-killed Chicago mentality and combining it with a sonic massacre of biblical proportions, Bodybag are a brutalizing quintet that stop at nothing to crush the listener into oblivion. While At the End of Time is a short album, seconds shy of twenty minutes, it doesn’t let up for a single second, such that by the time it reaches its end, the listener is ready for a short breather. Effortlessly taking traditional heavy music elements and slamming them (pun intended) into a cavalcade of contemporary and crushing elements that leave the listener little more than a flattened pile of pulp, Bodybag imply a lethal promise with their name that they have absolutely no problem following through on.
For Fans Of: Drowning, Culture Killer, Mercy Blow, Torture
By: Connor Welsh