Last year’s collaboration between Uniform and The Body was remarkable for how it was some of the most accessible noise around while not diverging very far from either band’s DNA. The follow-up, Everything That Dies Someday Comes Back, continues along the same path, but in this case, it’s a small surprise.
This seeming incongruity is due to Uniform subtly shifting their sound from industrial to stripped-down, old-school hardcore with the band’s own material. Evidently working with The Body—whose sound has evolved in the opposite direction, using more electronics and less analogue doom—gives the New York band license to revisit their Missing Foundation roots that were somewhat relegated to the background when drummer Greg Fox joined the band.
Having two of the more distinctive vocalists compete with one another is a study in contrasts. Michael Berdan’s plaintive, throaty screams are like an additional percussive force, whereas The Body’s Chip King sounds like additional keyboards provided they were programmed with the sound of a swarm of locusts screaming as they fly into the path of a flamethrower. Both play their parts well, Berdan the straight man to King’s punchline.
The overtly electronic haze seems to be in spite of the addition of Fox to the fold. It would be interesting to know precisely where his contributions end and the drum machine kicks in, though the safe money is that more often than not, both man and machine coexist. Despite this, the primal minimalism owes more to Godflesh’s apocalyptic sturm and drang than Ministry’s over the top anarchy.
The song “Penance” might actually be the most melodic moment from either band’s discography. Retro synths chime; a dated click-track makes it seem even more anachronous, and a murky reverb gives it a noir-ish feel that stands out even on an album that embraces danceable darkness.
It’s industrialized pop that moves the needle into Reznor territory. On the other end of the spectrum, the sparse “Day of Atonement” could be a Death Grips remix, and it’s fun imaging their boisterous, tag-team rapping over the minimalistic beat rather than the overly manipulated voices of Berdan and King.
Both bands play to their strengths and the collaborative force is somehow greater than the sum of its parts. Like a mechanized Swans, Uniform and The Body pour emotive gristle into Everything That Dies Someday Comes Back, and the listener is somehow able to get exponentially more back in return.