The BODY and BIG|BRAVE – ” Leaving None But Small Birds “

Posted: September 25, 2021 in MUSIC
May be an image of 5 people, beard and indoor

“Leaving None But Small Birds”, which consists of re-worked traditional songs and hymns from Appalachia, Canada and England, casts both The Body and BIG|BRAVE in a whole new light that should nevertheless resonate with both fanbases and endear them both to listeners who might otherwise be put off by the forcefulness of their respective back catalogue. By the time any guitar distortion eases its way in about halfway through the song sequence, the transition is so gradual that it makes perfect sense, announcing itself in a most unobtrusive fashion. Both bands have hit their audience over the head with jagged contrasts in the past, but here they pace the music so that there’s a gradual, almost imperceptible incline in heaviness.

Indeed, everything about “Leaving None But Small Birds” bears a deliberate attention to detail. Even fans of BIG|BRAVE and The Body might not necessarily think of them as aspiring masters of craft, but there’s no other way to see them now after this collaboration. With the insistent, shanty-like cadence of “Oh Sinner,” for example, the two groups mimic the hypnotic drone that’s become BIG|BRAVE’s stock in trade, but together they prove that they can be just as powerful with the volume turned way down. 

Somewhere along the way, the musical form we once referred to as heavy metal reached a point where it had become as boundless as jazz. It may seem counter-intuitive, but not only can harsh, distorted guitars blend with any other musical element you pair them with, but the density they create also lends itself to subtle shading. Which explains why musicians who play monolithic, crushing music can tend to regard guitar tones with the same discerning sensibilities as fine-wine connoisseurs comparing bottles of different vintage. Metal, alas, increasingly reveals itself to be music built on a keen awareness of texture—at least when it’s coming from bands like The Body and BIG|BRAVE.

On Leaving None But Small Birds, the two acts come together for a joint collaboration that, on paper, would suggest a complementary merger between The Body’s noise-laden brand of sludge and BIG|BRAVE’s melodic doom metal/drone hybrid. As it turns out, the two groups sure do prove to be complementary, but they do so while playing in an old-timey folk style, perhaps the last thing one might have expected from either group. Then again, we probably should have seen it coming. For over 20 years now, The Body—a Portland, Oregon-based duo with a voracious appetite for abrasion—have more or less constantly sought new ways to re-configure the drums, guitars, electronics and screaming that make up their core sound. Conceived as a challenge by Buford to emulate the rustic style of The Band, Of the two groups, BIG|BRAVE have shown the most capacity for tunefulness, but their facility with acoustic instrumentation on Leaving None But Small Birds turns out to be as radical a stylistic shift as The Body’s

Releases October 1st, 2021

Performed by:
Lee Buford
Chip King
Robin Wattie
Tasy Hudson
Mathieu Ball
Seth Manchester
Morgan Eve Swain

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