REVIEW: Bodysnatcher: Bleed – Abide [2022]

Artist: Bodysnatcher
Album: Bleed – Abide

Violence—or maybe more specific to the original definition, conflict—is a tricky component of the human condition. It is superfluous and unjust, but in its own right, wholly necessary, and, ultimately, while it is carnal, primitive and unthinking, it can also be incredibly cathartic. Nothing captures this aspect of violence—or is able to deliver violence in the form of music—like the Floridian deathcore outfit Bodysnatcher. Bodysnatcher remain a crucial component to heavy music, and while they’re grown and matured considerably in the years since their debut EP, the band have always remained true to themselves by bringing nothing short of pure energy and malevolence to the listener by way of scathing breakdowns and blunt, brazen riffs. By history—and on their surface—they’re one of the most aggressive and outspoken arbiters of heaviness that the US has to offer within the contemporary extreme music circuit. When looked at more closely, however, there’s a lot more to the band than meets the eye. Rather than just violence for the sake of violence, Bodysnatcher give the listener a comprehensive approach to aggressive music, with songs that touch on more emotional and introspective elements standing in bold juxtaposition against immolating ass-beaters, Bleed – Abide is their most comprehensive and full-bodied release to date, giving the listener nearly an hour of what Bodysnatcher do best: violence.
To those uninitiated, Bodysnatcher was born a product of the early 2010’s brief-but-blistering romance with downtempo deathcore—however while the genre ultimately fizzled, Bodysnatcher did anything but. Refusing to remain stagnant, the band adapted, incorporating elements of hardcore, metalcore and more overt infusions of traditional deathcore into their sound to create an all-out onslaught on the listener. While it took several iterations to hone, on Bleed – Abide, it feels safe to say that Bodysnatcher have found the purest form of their own sound to date. Blending bouncy, bright and quick percussion against murky and dreary guitars that run the gamut from oppressive chugs to groovy, ear-catching riffs, Bleed – Abide can easily be described as everything the band did right with This Heavy Void amplified and refined—but really, describing it so simply doesn’t do it true justice. Songs like “E.D.A.” and “Value Through Suffering” blend more melodic and metered components into Bodysnatcher’s dynamic—with ambient leads that segue brilliantly into metallic riffs and punchy, stuttering breakdowns. Other songs feel more akin to the Bodysnatcher that defined themselves earlier in their career; “Smashed Perception” and “Flatline” fit this bill especially well, as both are two short-but-sweet examples of unadulterated, uncut and unfiltered rage. Here, dissonant guitars chug with the cadence and force of The Hulk swinging two two-ton sledgehammers directly at the listener’s skull, with breakdowns that rend flesh and grind bone to dust. Lead single “Absolved of the Strings and Stone” is a medium between the two extremes, blending metallic influence into the band’s backbone of robust deathcore to create something that feels as though it could have been released over a decade ago (but with Chris Whited’s contemporary mix and master). Instrumentally, the band are at their peak, and continue to demonstrate how they refuse to stagnate or regress. Bodysnatcher sound most similar to This Heavy Void, but with more intent and structure behind each song, and an overall flow to the album that keeps the listener hooked from start to finish.
One of the things that truly help differentiate Bodysnatcher from other contemporary heavy acts isn’t just how heavy they are, but also the manners in which they use their heaviness as a vector for a variety of lyrical and vocal content. First and foremost, it’s important to address that on Bleed – Abide, Bodysnatcher haven’t gone soft. In fact, if anything, frontman Kyle Medina is at his most rabid and unhinged—but similarly to This Heavy Void, many of the songs on Bleed – Abide take on more complex and introspective lyrical themes as a figurative companion to its dark, brooding and intense instrumental elements. Songs like “E.D.A.,” “Value Through Suffering” and “Hollow Shell” see the band adapt more thought provoking lyrical content with a variety of raw screams and grisly bellows. To the contrary, other songs—like the one-two punch of “Bleed” and “Abide”—are no-holds-barred murder anthems. Here, lyrics and content take a backseat to supreme vocal prowess and punchy one-liners that segue into breakdowns that manifest themselves as pure chaos. This dynamic that Bodysnatcher develop—using immense vocals and incredible vocal patterning as a bridge between aggression and introspection—make Bleed – Abide the band’s most fluid work to date.
Bodysnatcher are a band I’ve been following for what feels like forever—and with each new release, the band continue to push themselves to expand in both substance and their ability to incite pure malevolence. Bleed – Abide is the latest in their devastating discography, and it also stands as their most comprehensive release to date. Stopping at nothing to absolutely obliterate the listener, Bodysnatcher provide a robust full length record with practically no filler, steamrolling the listener between a cavalcade of crushing aggression. In a time where violence is abundant in every aspect of our lives, Bodysnatcher find a way to channel it into music and make it stand out and resonate with the listener—while still knocking some teeth out in the process.

For Fans Of: Born a New, King Conquer, ABACABB, Signs of the Swarm, Bermuda
By: Connor welsh