The Body and the Earth is the latest release from prolific post-rock act thisquietarmy. The brainchild of Montreal guitarist Eric Quach, The Body And the Earth is the first release under the thisquietarmy moniker to feature a full band. I’m not going through his huge back catalogue to verify that, so we’ll just take Quach’s word for it. The Body and the Earth is made up of four slow-building pieces of music, chock-full of droning guitars and ambient background sounds, with a heavy rhythm section adding a sense of depth to the release. While the album was well performed, I found the song structure to be a bit formulaic over the album’s 40-minute runtime.
The Body and the Earth starts with the song “Cometh,” which builds off of an ambient guitar intro into a heavy and hypnotic piece of music full of swelling keyboards and horns and an overdriven bass that I couldn’t get enough of. The opening track was my favourite on the album, but there are several other standout moments from thisquietarmy. The fast passage halfway through “Seismic Waves” and subsequent outro to the song were both welcomed changes of pace and helped to break up the album. Similarly, the overdriven guitar progression near the end of the album’s closer, “Algal Bloom,” could easily be found on any new wave black metal release and brought an interesting sense of atmosphere both to the song itself and to the album as a whole.
The main issue I had with The Body and the Earth was thisquietarmy’s decision to structure all four tracks in a very similar fashion. Kicking off each song with a droning guitar, synth, or horn became a lot less effective the further I got into the album. Had “Seismic Waves” waved the intro and just began when the drums come in a minute or so into the track, I think it would have kept the momentum the band had built coming out of “Sixth Mass.” I can appreciate the hypnotic vibe that thisquietarmy are going for, but I feel that trimming back on some of the buildup sections of the songs would have given more opportunity for the 4 tracks to tie in to one another a bit better and, in doing so, make The Body and the Earth feel more like one single piece of music.
The Body and the Earth is a solid post-rock album. I can’t say I’m very familiar with thisquietarmy’s previous releases, but the band that Eric Quach has gotten together for this release did a terrific job. There were moments on the album where I was simply waiting for the band to pick it up and get on with the next movement, but maybe you’re more patient than I am. If you’re in the market for some ambient, but heavy, rock, The Body and the Earth is worth giving a listen.
Written by Justin Bruce
*edited by Mike Milito