clipping. — Visions of Bodies Being Burned — Album Review
Experimental | Industrial | Hip-Hop
Taking things back to almost exactly a year ago, and the experimental, industrial Hip-hop outfit that goes by the name of clipping. released their third studio album, 2019’s There Existed an Addiction to Blood. And while this album gained much of the praised it undoubtedly deserved, for its deeply dark and unnerving aesthetic, it eventually wound up being one of those albums that I was close to reviewing, but ultimately didn’t. I think the primary reason behind this, was that while I could appreciate its disturbingly surreal sounds, it stood as a very difficult album to digest. And this, as an introductory album in my case, left me feeling like I would need another album to bridge the gap between me and that album.
Thankfully, the kind of album that I feel like I needed, has finally arrived, in the form of their fourth and latest studio album from clipping., which they have titled Visions of Bodies Being Burned.
As the cover art of this album instantly suggested to listeners, Visions of Bodies Being Burned definitely came across (at least to me) as a sequel project to There Existed an Addiction to Blood. But what I found differently with this album, was that many of the musical and stylistic elements felt a lot more reigned in, thus giving Visions of Bodies Being Burned a far more accessible presence, which left me with the confidence that I can redeem myself slightly, by reviewing this album after not doing so for the previous.
But while Visions of Bodies Being Burned is an easier listen to take in than its predecessor, listeners shouldn’t mistake it for a more tame project. This album still effortlessly brings the chilling and horror-inspired aesthetic, that allows it to be a perfect pre-Halloween record.
Having listened to the three teaser tracks shortly before the release of the full album, the aesthetic felt more than apparent, especially with the track “Say The Name”, seemingly pulling lyrical inspiration from the 1992 horror flick Candyman, with mention of the murderous soul’s “hook hand” and the title pointing to how characters in the movie repeated the name “Candyman” in the mirror.
But the production behind this album is where, much like the previous album, the disturbing undertones shine brightest. But along with this, Visions of Bodies Being Burned include some incredibly eerie instrumentals, particularly with the likes of tracks such as “She Bad” with its chilling squeaks, as well as “Eaten Alive” with its spine-tingling, percussion-heavy sound.
The creepy, horror theme is so strong in fact, that it translates incredibly well on some of the interludes as well, particularly the earlier ones. This albums intro might just be one of the most effective introductions to an album this year, with a faint dum thud, that gradually evolves into a heavily distorted crash that downright assaults the ears. I also loved how the “Wytchboard” interlude transitions perfectly into “‘96 Neve Campbell”. However, the interludes seem to become more and more unnecessary as the album progresses; “Invocation” in particular took me completely out of the album for that moment, with it essentially being over a minute of unchanging ambient sound.
Overall, this album is a nice balance of experimental ambience and loud, booming, noisy beats. While each of them carry the spook-factor in their own right, I found myself regarding the latter as marking most of this album’s highlights. And although these kinds of tunes lean closer towards engaging rap beats, than chilling ambient soundscapes, they seemingly stand as the main reason behind this albums core sense of accessibility.
One of the strongest tunes in my mind, is arguably also the one that takes this style to the most extreme degree. “Looking Like Meat” not only carries a brilliantly engaging and sinister fuzz-heavy beat, but also features the likes of Ho99o9, which I found to be a perfect match, in the case of this track.
I left this album with a very high sense of satisfaction, especially when reflecting on how well clipping. have pushed their dark aesthetic out further, whilst also giving this album that slightly more accessible feel than previous works. And while there were a few tracks, whose ambient production felt a little patience-testing, what’s most important is that clipping. have once again made a quintessential project for this time of year.
Favourite Tracks: Say The Name | ’96 Neve Campbell | Looking Like Meat
Least Favourite Track: Invocation
Sub Pop Records