Absent in Body - Plague God
Relapse Records
Sludge, Industrial
5 songs (36:24)
Release year: 2022
Relapse Records
Reviewed by Goat

A supergroup consisting of members of Belgian sludgenauts Amenra alongside Neurosis' Scott Kelly and ex-Sepultura drummer Iggor Cavalera, Absent in Body play an interesting and quite unique form of atmospheric sludge that's closer to Amenra than the others, but has enough to make it stand out as a separate institution regardless. They do well to immediately create an unsettling air on opener Rise from Ruins, background muttering and electronic swirling atop a steady beat before launching into a snarling burst of sludge riffs. Yet it's when the band bring in clanging industrial elements on the following In Spirit In Spite that they get even more interesting, the almost Godfleshian backing beats adding considerably to the bleak atmosphere, as does a particularly despairing spoken word section that is far more effective than these usually are.

And the album doesn't really put a step wrong after that, keeping your interest well and not outstaying its welcome despite having more eight-minute-plus songs than not. Cuts like Sarin are as nasty as the name, shuddering riffs reverberating beneath a rabid vocal performance that is all gasped snarls, ending in a burst of industrial noise. There's even a leaning away from metal and towards ambient/noise on The Acres/The Ache and the closing The Half Rising Man, which focus a little more on the soundscapes the band creates and, on the former, throws in some effectively plaintive clean singing. Leaving you wanting more rather than making the album some hour-plus monster is a positive move, too! A solid first effort and hopefully not a one-off.

Killing Songs :
In Spirit In Spite, Sarin, The Acres/The Ache
Goat quoted 80 / 100
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