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Dope Body
Kunk J.J. Anselmi , August 26th, 2015 11:26

While a slew of bands have mimicked the manic intensity of The Shape Of Punk To Come, few have utilised the pseudo-dance grooves that populate the album. With songs that are equally abrasive and infectious, Baltimore quartet Dope Body brilliantly expand upon this aspect of Refused. Take some ecstasy, go to the nearest club, and then, as you get on the dance floor, bite a piece of aluminium foil: that's what it feels like to listen to Dope Body's latest, Kunk.

'Casual' opens the LP with a driving Bonham rhythm and a circular saw of guitar noise. Guitarist Zachary Utz periodically switches to industrial chugging, and John Jones plays sporadic bass notes that sound like the deathbed murmurings of a synthesiser. Andrew Laumann adds the icing on this anxiety-causing track with a mixture of yells, atonal singing, and spoken vocals—all filtered through a loudspeaker effect.

'Dad' is a minute-and-a-half segue that will make you feel like you’ve chugged a bottle of cough syrup and then gone to work in an electronics factory. 'Good Line', the third cut on Kunk, follows with a main section that could pass as an ironic adaptation of White Zombie's 'More Human Than Human'. Rather than pulverising his drums like John Tempesta however, Dope Body's David Jacober plays with a light, funk-infused touch that sacrifices nothing in drive. Like many All Leather songs, 'Good Line' combines nerve-pinching vocals and guitar work with ass-shaking rhythms.

The sixth track, 'Obey', progresses from clean guitar into a verse that mixes the industrial pulsations of KMFDM with the depressive nihilism of Swans. Andrew Laumann hones in on this latter influence when, roughly halfway through the song, he repeats "under my spell" in a melancholic monotone. Following this track, 'Ash Toke' is a concise barrage of noise and abstract drumming, which provides an intentionally awkward transition into 'Down'—a disco hit that's been thrown into a wood chipper.

Kunk closes with 'Pincher' and 'Void'. Instrument-wise, 'Pincher' channels the psychotic giddiness of Daughters' self-titled album, and Laumann emphasises the track's absurd vibe with vocal ether. 'Void' is the longest song on the LP by a full two minutes. It begins with a noxious cloud of white noise, which Jacober's steady kick drum gradually penetrates. As Jacober builds into a churning tom rhythm, Laumann douses the song in nervous energy by switching from bizarre speaking into idiosyncratic shouting that pays direct homage to David Yow of The Jesus Lizard. Finally, Jacober abandons the metronomic attack that he uses throughout Kunk, pushing the tempo of 'Void' until it's beyond his control. Zachary Utz follows his drummer's lead and creates a guitar caterwaul that rapidly dissipates into fingernails-on-the-chalkboard feedback.

Throw equal parts post-hardcore, power electronics, trip-hop, and EDM into a blender, and the result might resemble Dope Body. As illustrated by Kunk, the band is a breath of originality in the often-hackneyed worlds of punk and hardcore. Play this album the next time you want your dance party to devolve into a cannibalistic orgy.

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