The Body & Dis Fig, “Orchards of a Futile Heaven”
By Shane Burley · February 23, 2024 Merch for this release:
Vinyl LP, Compact Disc (CD)

As The Body, Chip King and Lee Buford have spent the past 25 years championing misanthropic, boundary-pushing noise of all kinds, often in the company of artists like Thou, This is Hell, and BIG|BRAVE. On their most dynamic collaboration yet, they join forces with Dis Fig (real name Felicia Chen), an emergent, like-minded producer and singer based in Berlin, who leveraged her choral background to dissonant ends on 2019’s Purge. Pitting The Body’s punishing instrumentation against Dis Fig’s experimental, ambient-inflected vocal arrangements, Orchards of a Futile Heaven is a chaotic marvel.

Orchards of a Futile Heaven is less a progression of songs than a protracted emotional breakdown. Every song oozes discomfort and aggression, a palpable rage that builds slowly and steadily, from the opening track “Eternal Hours” to highlights like “Dissent, Shame.” When combined with Dis Fig’s screaming vocal crescendos, The Body’s signature, quaking reverb, renders the underlying emotions more tangible. Every decision has been made to keep the sound challenging. The album’s title track lets Dis Fig’s operatic vocals build to a full-tilt, screamed crescendo that brings the album’s dissonance to a beautifully catastrophic scale.

With the vocals and the instrumentation repeatedly at odds—songs like “Holy Lance” pair explosive, modulated guitars with ecstatic, crisply intonated melodies; “Coils of Kaa” traps Dis Fig’s haunting refrains in grinding, industrial pandemonium—a frightening, beautiful fusion takes form and with it a sense of tension. It all culminates on “Back to the Water,” a stunning closer that lays out Dis Fig’s startling range against a mix of quivering electronic interference and crunchy guitar riffs endemic to The Body’s sludge metal roots. That the song and the album as a whole concludes with over 10 seconds of sustained, high-pitch screeching feels only fitting. This is, after all, the product of three musicians who are constantly evolving, finding new ways to disturb and transcend.

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