If you’re not familiar with extreme metal projects such as TIMŌRĀTUS, Symphony of Heaven, and Bismoth, the Body of Christ split is your perfect introduction.
Body of Christ is set to be released today on March 19th 2019 on each band’s Bandcamp page:
This is a six-track album that features two songs from each of the aforementioned bands. It begins with TIMŌRĀTUS.
“Brothers, You Are Not Alone” launches this album and contains some of the best TIMŌRĀTUS material to date. This song shifts between atmospheric to more traditional sounds of the blackened metal genre. I can think of no better way to start such an epic compilation as this, than with a song of hope!
“The Root of Unity” continues down the same path of encouragement as the first track. And like the first song, this one has an amazing balance of atmospheric and traditional sounds. About halfway through, the extreme elements drop out at the entrance of more ethereal elements as harsh masculine vocals are replaced, in a well-executed transition, with clean feminine vocals. If you could ever hope to find a “soundtrack” to the theme of unity, it would be this amazing TIMŌRĀTUS tune.
“Death to Denomination” is the first track by Symphony of Heaven. It’s a melodic headbanger. It contains the same strong musicianship brought to us on the Symphony of Heaven debut, though the vocals, while still extreme, have even more dynamics than the previous project. In fact, the entire track is pretty dynamic as it progresses and builds. And lyrically, even though it contains themes of “death”, it’s a track that calls for the death of what divides and is truly a song of revival.
“For Glory” starts off easy with ambient dissonant guitar work, like a calm before the storm. And then all of a sudden it kicks and unleashes a metal assault in the style reminiscent of a Dimmu Borgir type groove. But instead of the negative and dark elements of many of S.O.H.’s mainstream peers, it guides the listener to praise the Almighty God and bringer of Salvation. It proclaims, “The Rider on the white horse has ransomed us”, thus cementing this as one of the best victory songs you will hear in black metal.
“Anguish and Agape” is the first track by Bismoth and adds a new element to the split. It brings the listener to a place that encapsulates moods of somberness and reflection. Over nine minutes of a musical journey showcases the power of atmospheric blackened metal that flawlessly transitions between the gentle and the extreme. This is my first listen to the music of Bismoth and at a glance, it reminds me of one of my favorite bands/projects, Vials of Wrath.
“In Christ Together” is another bold declaration of truth. The element of truth, hope, and love is the “mustard seed” that sprouted into the audible opus that is Body of Christ. This song closes out the project with an extreme driving force. It declares that Jesus’ love for us never fails. In Christ Together is anthemic in nature. As the last note fades out at the end of this song, I can’t help but wish for more from these amazing artists.
Three bands, two songs each. And this isn’t pop music so whereas six songs in the pop world would have this album conclude in 12 minutes or so. This is a full-bodied project with a lot of substance and quality.
Before I share my rating, I want to express a personal bias. I am not a fan of split CDs. In fact, when this first became available for me to review, I had some hesitation as often in the past, I would be friends with one band, they would record a split, and I could only ever listen to half of it because often enough, I found the other band to be anything but good.
The Sanctifica/Pantokrator split was the only one I ever really “wore out” from enjoyment. However, the Body of Christ album well exceeded my expectations and in fact, after having listened to it, I can’t think of a better trio to be on the same album together than these three bands/projects!
Without a doubt, The Metal Onslaught gives this 7 out of 10!
Review by JR Rife – 7/10
Once again, the split album can be found at any of the bands Bandcamp stores: