North-west UK based trio Bodies On Everest are an intriguing group. With a name related to the highest graveyard in the world, it will come as no surprise that both the musical content and delivery lies on the doomier side of the spectrum. With approaches to music having a doom, drone and psychedelic influence, similar to bands like 11 Paranoias, Bodies On Everest bring forth a disturbing twin-bass and drum assault of what they proclaim as ‘Dungeon Wave’. Bow your heads, pay your respects and fly the flags at half-mast. This is a national day of mourning.
Much like the Presser which accompanied the release, there isn’t much to go on where information and references to this band are concerned. A few hazy, black and white photos from old shows, a cryptic Facebook page and pseudonym stage names make this a challenge to easily identify aspects of the band other than what their music offers up. Whilst this enigmatic front can garner interest, it’s a pain in the arse if you try to write about it as sloppy exposition and conjecture make up the bulk of the account. Ominous and obvious foreshadowing aside, the music should be easier to talk about right? [Imagine the buzzer from Family Fortunes signalling a wrong answer].
Instead of this release being music, it is easier to imagine it as a conceptual Creation or an ‘OST’. A heavy mix of samples, atmospheric ambience, murky basslines, buried in the mix vocal sections and plenty of psychologically stimulating arrangements form the core of this piece and from this, you can begin to piece together just what Dungeon Wave actually is.
The heavy impact on the atmosphere surrounding the tracks has the same effect that a psychological horror or suspense-thriller film would have. It has a looming, almost overbearing presence which naturally predisposes to a sense of discomfort. The distorted vocal samples, buried in the mix of sharp drums and filthy bass lean towards the whole ‘hearing things you cannot see/is there anybody out there?’ scenario. The decision to use angular/awkward/jarring samples which ramp up the atmospheric impact ties in well with what instrument use there is to create an intense heavy sound, which in turn, creates an extremely unsettling atmospheric setting – quite fitting of the term ‘dungeon’ you could say.
Where the actual music/substance of the release is concerned, what is there isn’t much to go off. The things which help create and sustain the atmospheric impact (see above) contradict the musical flow and musical experience. A National Day Of Mourning is a paradox, a musical Schrodinger’s cat of sorts – it is both music and not-music at the same time. This dynamic state means getting an actual feel for it is almost like trying to climb Everest! On one hand, you can appreciate how all the components combine to create the recording whilst on the other you are left with something which doesn’t quite make any sense.
In short, this is a release which will take a rather substantial investment on the listener’s part to both experience and evaluate. To me, it comes across better as an entity to experience rather than a musical recording you can listen to, but ultimately it boils down to each listener’s perspective.