ABSENT IN BODY, the new band featuring AMENRA guitarist Mathieu J. Vandekerckhove, AMENRA frontman Colin H. Van Eeckhout, NEUROSIS vocalist/guitarist Scott Kelly and former SEPULTURA drummer Igor Cavalera, will release its debut album, “Plague God”, on March 25 via Relapse Records. The LP’s third single, “Rise From Ruins”, can be streamed below.
“Rise From Ruins” made a special debut this past Sunday, March 6 as part of All Elite Wrestling‘s “Revolution” PPV event. “Rise From Ruins” is the official theme song of the television show’s HOUSE OF BLACK group featuring AEW wrestlers Malakai Black, Brody King (God’s Hate) and Buddy Matthews.
Vandekerckhove comments: “The blueprints of most ABSENT IN BODY songs were made when I was on tour with AMENRA. Because of the long journeys, I had a lot of free time on the bus. Different landscapes every day. The emptiness of the mountains, the desolate empty cities at night… One day, when recording the album, I had too much negative news and havoc on my socials shoved into my face. And the riff to this song was an instinctive reaction to that. I fought it off. This song is definitely a reflection of that moment, that day.”
“Plague God” is bound by the same ideals of unity and fearlessly uncompromising honesty of expression that have driven the members’ respective bands to imperious heights of reverence and groundbreaking sonic deliverance. “Plague God” is by turns devastating and sublime, drawn from musicians for whom life and art are inextricably bound.
Vandekerckhove commented: “We had not imposed any limitations or boundaries on ourselves to create this music. Everything happened without any compromise, we gathered and let inspiration run freely. It is the beauty and the strength of this album.”
Cavalera stated: “It feels great to collaborate with such forward-thinking minds like Colin, Mathieu and Scott on ABSENT IN BODY. The music is dense and slowly brutal, very similar to the times we are living.”
“The Acres/The Ache” music video was filmed and edited by Vandekerckhove.
“Plague God” track listing:
01. Rise From Ruins
02. In Spirit In Spite
04. The Acres/The Ache
05. The Half Rising Man
In an era overrun by information, misinformation, unseen algorithms and viral contagion, to seek out what’s truly human in the face of overwhelming and unfathomable forces has perhaps become our most sacred of tasks. It’s an impulse that lies at the very heart of “Plague God”.
Initially the brainchild of Vandekerckhove and Kelly, ABSENT IN BODY formed in 2017. Immediately recognizing their kinship, and with Van Eeckhout brought in on vocals and bass, what emerged is a reflection of the intervening years of turbulence, extending its scope as it navigates across five stretches of unstable terrain. From the opening “Rise From Ruins” with Cavalera‘s tribal beat emerging from foreboding, near-subsonic oscillations to explode in a tide of corrosive riffs and feral howls, through “Sarin”‘s steadfast, procession-through-purgatory groove, to “The Half Rising Man”‘s matrix of organic/mechanic evolution, it’s an album in constant dialogue between the animalistic, the human and the industrial, and a hunger to distill a truth, something unpolluted from the fray.
Protest music is often perceived as a petition, or a counter-argument against a controlling force. There is another sense of protest, though, that of a machine under stress: articulating the pressures weighing down on it by means of an involuntary, primal response. It’s these states of critical mass at which we must truly find ourselves, under duress maybe, but unblinded and alive. “Plague God” doesn’t just give voice to these moments of truth, but in the band’s deep kinship integral to every claustrophobic judder, every stretch of atmospheric dread and helpless alias assumed, lies a freedom we both forget and attain at our peril.
Photographs by William Lacalmontie / Simon Kallas / Sven Harambašić