The Body has always been one of those bands that’s bordered on the edge of “is this actually metal?” at times. And that’s gotten them both acclaim and dissent from the metal community. Because the truth is the metal community doesn’t often take too kindly to massive experimentation of the non-metal variety in metal albums. Many see it as the invitation to the hipster community to love metal, of which as they do everything, will lead to the further degeneration and destruction of metal as a whole. And this isn’t totally wrong, we’ve already seen plenty of shitty pitchforkcore metal albums come out specifically because the general populace has grown more into the more extreme genres of metal. However, that doesn’t faze me when going into this record. Because I like weird shit. If you’ve followed my reviews for the short time that I’ve been doing them, you might’ve caught on that i love really strange and experimental metal, which often involves me giving “random bandcamp album #2324” a 10/10. This is because smaller bands typically do shit that no other large band would even think of doing, because of the risk of losing fans, which equals losing money. The Body isn’t exactly the largest band in the world, but they’re known, and they have quite a following. The difference being The Body has built their image on some of the coldest, hate induced music of any major band right now. No One Deserves Happiness is no different. The Body has created a masterpiece that speaks to everyone who has ever wished ill will on other people or themselves, and those who’s cynicism and pessimism has controlled them to the point of no return.
Even since people have actually started using the descriptors feature of RYM albums I’ve seen the tag “misanthropic” on pretty much any album that’s dark in the slightest. The tag is almost a joke at this point, one that always hypes me up but never delivers. So again, on this record I got the it’s page and sure enough, that tag is there, calling to me another massive let down. Except when I put this on, there was no letdown. This is some of the most anti-social music I’ve heard that wasn’t just noise. And it’s all done by the implementation of industrial sounds in combination with the droning heavy guitars. I think the evilness of machinery is quite underestimated among most music fans, especially those who love metal. One of the reasons black metal sounds so evil is because of the hollow and cold guitar tone associated with it. It sounds distant, cold, detached. However I feel like there’s still some human emotion attached to them, mostly in the fact that they actually play tonal notes. So no matter how black you make the guitar, there’s always going to be some sort of warmth involved. Machines don’t have that. They just have pure, cold, noise. There is no warmth of human flesh attached to those sounds, no familiar imperfections or touch. It’s just noise. But that can be said of any electronic album, why does it work so well here?
It’s because of the combination BETWEEN both the warmth and the cold. In combination with the bleeps and bloops we have warm, down to earth guitars. We have soothing, soft female vocals that almost seem to be sarcasm at times, and at others beckoning those who reject humanity to come back to the comfort of man. We have distant, fuzzy screams, as if a response to the vocals, yelling “NO, let me suffer in peace!” We have a distant and quiet production, which I initially criticized, but came to realize made everything else even more detached. The amazing part of No One Deserves Happiness is that even things I would normally see as imperfections are done so well in context that I see them as strengths. There are tracks where we do see some actual melancholy tonality, something that you would take for granted on basically any other record. Normally I would look at that and think “wow that really doesn’t fit in context of what I’ve heard so far”. But god dammit it works here. Specifically on The Fall and the Guilt, we have a track with pianos and violins, combined with angelic female vocals, contrasted with the guttural, doomy guitars and noisy background fuzz. It shouldn’t work but it fits perfectly because The Body restrains themselves from going too all in on either aspect. There’s just enough of each one to work, no more, no loss.
Which is why this album is one of the best records this year. Because everything fits together perfectly. Not only does it accomplish its goal to almost perfection, but it goes beyond that, giving the listener a true misanthropic experience that I haven’t seen in a long time. I know this is isn’t going to get high ratings from most people, but I urge anyone who can give weird music a chance to let this masterpiece explain to them why humans are pure fucking garbage.