Watch the video.
Led by Chrissy Wolpert, the Assembly of Light Choir walked through a mostly seated audience, cloaked in robes, singing a cappella at Le Poisson Rouge. The 24 members of the choir come from various musical backgrounds and operate under an empowering philosophy: "I am a singer. I am a good singer. I am confident. My voice is powerful and unique. And I am tasteful." It's an ethic rooted in punk rock, which is surely what attracted the sludgy doom-metal duo The Body to work with the group on one of my favorite albums of 2010, All the Waters of the Earth Turn to Blood. Conceived as a collaborative performance on a whirlwind 10-date tour, the Providence, R.I.-based groups convened in New York City as part of the Blackened Music Series on June 25.
After 14 minutes of the choir's own songs — part hymnal, part ancient ritual — Wolpert led the group in "A Body," the surging piece that opens the record. But when guitarist Chip King and drummer Lee Buford lay into the first chord of "A Curse" that follows it, a jaw becomes unhinged and the apocalypse opens its mouth to an Earth consumed by fire and creatures made of eyeballs. As heavy and as loud (and I mean three-speaker-cabinet LOUD) as these feedback-driven harbingers of doom are, these songs are intensely emotional. And don't let King's microphone in the video fool you: That was purely for recording purposes. He really does scream that loud over the massive, body-vibrating sounds the band makes.
The concert ends with a Judas Priest priest riff from "Here Comes the Tears" stretched and dragged like a deer carcass, featuring a haunting choir melody loosely based on "Lullaby to a Ghetto" by the industrial innovator Death in June. Given the elements, it's a odd meeting of worlds that works surprisingly well, like an unsettling catharsis in sound.
Audio provided by Le Poisson Rouge; mixed by Bill Bowen for NPR. Video by (((unartig))).
- "A Body"
- "A Curse"
- "Song of Sarin"
- "City of the Magnificent Jewel"
- "Lathspell, I Name You"
- "Here Come the Tears / Lullaby to a Ghetto"