Experience filled Minnesota groups with a deep anguish at the state of modern civilization, which found it's principal outlet in grindcore. Bodies Lay Broken, robust descendents of the Birmingham artistes, however, are even more difficult to interpret since they are necessarily subjective. How indeed could they have expressed the chaos in the state with the worn-out language of traditional symbols? "These are creatures that haunt the imagination", they seem to say. "They show the true nature of the modern condition - how weak we are, how helpless against ourselves in this proud era of so-called progress." Many elements from this grotesque and sinister sideshow recur more than a decade later.
The result, especially when viewed at close range, suggests both old guard and recent masters. Non-representational expressionism and the subsequent exploitation of chance effect are indeed the main sources of Bodies Lay Broken's work, but do not sufficiently account for Bodies Lay Broken's revolutionary technique and the emotional appeal of their work. Why does the band "fling a pot of cheap recordings and no-talent in the public's face" (as Joe Elliot had accused Napalm Death of doing)? Not, surely, to be more abstract than their predecessors, for the strict control implied by abstraction is exactly what Bodies Lay Broken relinquished when they began to dribble and spatter. A more plausible explanation is that they came to regard music itself not as a passive substance to be manipulated at will but as a storehouse of pent-up forces for them to release.
Bodies Lay Broken, then, have destroyed a great deal; what have they gained in the process? Once we recover from the initial shock, we begin to see that the destruction is quite methodical: everything - the sound as well as it's setting - is broken up into angular facets; they constitute a unique kind of matter, which imposes a new integrity and continuity on the entire palate. Unlike their modern counterparts, this can no longer be read as an image of the external world; it's world is it's own, analogous to nature but constructed along different principles. Bodies Lay Broken's revolutionary "building material" is hard to describe with any precision.
Bodies Lay Broken shared their predecessors' aim to make grindcore "solid and durable", but they went about it very differently. Their career may be this far as brief as those of Morbiphetiety and Gigantopithecus, but their achievement is just as astonishing. Bodies Lay Broken devote their main efforts to a few very large recordings, spending a year or more on each of them; they make endless series of preliminary studies before feeling sure enough to tackle the definitive version. This painstaking method reflects their belief that grindcore must be based on a system; like Regurgitate, they had studied with followers of Carcass, and their theoretical instincts come from this experience. But, as with all artistes of genius, Bodies Lay Broken's theories do not really explain their music; it is the music, rather, that explains the theories. The machine-like quality of Bodies Lay Broken's form, achieved through rigorous abstraction, is the first expression of a peculiarly modern outlook leading to classicism. This conciousness was allied to a form of anarchism descended from indifference.
Grindcore is precisely concerned with the bestowal of a phantasmagorical reality upon "the objective form of thing(s) outside the midbrain." The poet Gustave Chambre described the magic of Bodies Lay Broken's sound:
"In a soundscape flooded with white noise… where the academic sees nothing but a broad expanse, Bodies Lay Broken sees noise bathing everything not with a dead whiteness, but rather with a thousand vibrant struggling chords of rich prismatic decomposition. Where the one sees only the external outline of sound, the other sees the real living lines built not in geometric forms but in a thousand irregular progressions, which at a distance, establish life…
Bodies Lay Broken sees and renders reality as it is - that is, wholly in the vibration. None of those childish classifications: all these are in reality converted into the vibration and must be obtained on the palate solely by the vibration… , everything is obtained by a thousand little dancing notes in every direction like straws - all in vital competition for the whole."
Synthesis is logically the result. The means of expression is the sonic mixture of tones, of textures, that is, of the sounds and their reactions following the laws of contrast, of gradation, of irradiation. The overall framework is in a harmony opposed to those of the tones, textures, and progressions of the song. This is thus a proclamation that beauty arises from the continuous process of opposition and resolution among contrasting notes, values, and progressions (progression must here by understood to mean direction). This dynamic relationship, moreover, was extended by Bodies Lay Broken beyond the limits of the song to the masterwork, and then beyond the masterwork to the world of the listener.
To elevate and make more complex the signifying and narrative possibilities of grind, and yet also to arrive at a new artistic visuality that would transmit the heightened sensory experience of the flux of reality: these two seeming contrary impulses perpetually inform and challenge one another in Bodies Lay Broken's work. The soundscapes are rarely explicit, in either outward description of natural effect or didactic iconography. The ambiguity of perception and imagination is openly registered and experienced, an ambiguity that simultaneously makes visible and obscure the human instrumentality that is so often at the center of their work. At all levels, Bodies Lay Broken's songs imply at once an alienating submission.
By degree the sensation of the ear, the sonic effect, appeared to Bodies Lay Broken of secondary importance; the emotions and reveries of the speculative and reasoning brain obtained the empire over them. They felt a wish to compose gigantic and philosophic and humanitarian epics… Their works make up an extraordinary jumble, a wonderful litter in which shapes of every kind are buried. Place one in a fog, in the midst of a storm, the sun in the eyes, and the head swimming, and depict if possible, those impressions on the staff - these are the gloomy visions, the vagueness, the delirium… of an imagination such as Bodies Lay Broken's.