James Hammontree has made quite an impact since debuting Black Magnet in 2018, with 2020’s Hallucination Scene signaling the band as one of the new wave of industrial/metal. With Sanford Parker once again helming the mix, Body Prophecy only strengthens Black Magnet’s resolve while testing the audience’s aural faculties to near impenetrable degrees.
A rather epic and incendiary opener arrives with the punishing drum loops and striking guitar hook of “A History of Drowning,” the repetitions of “Who will rise? On the inside” booming with an almost operatic grandeur. From here, Body Prophecy engages in a relentless assault on the senses, driven by rhythms that seem to blend the cold weight of steel with the dubious precision of programmed loops. Such is the case on tracks like “Floating in Nothing” and “Body World,” both primed for dancefloor remixes without sacrificing the volume, the shrill electronic sequences and distorted wails and squeals of guitar almost literally beating the listener into submission. As was the case in Black Magnet’s previous outings, Hammontree demonstrates his penchant for an almost punklike brevity that gives tracks like “Violent Mechanix,” “Wolverine Dreams,” and the aforementioned “Body World” the sharp character of a blitzkrieg – striking with a disquieting aggression that almost leaves one wanting more, but only to finish you off rather than leave you to exsanguinate slowly to your expiration. Most notable is the saccharine segue of “Sold Me Sad” as its layers of acoustic and clean electric guitars mingle atop a sinister electronic drone, the vocals despondent and hollow, seemingly struggling to maintain the melody under the emotional stress. As on much of Hallucination Scene, traces of a Nine Inch Nails influence can be felt in “Last Curse,” its acidic incessance reminiscent of a song like “Last,” but with an ascending chorus riff that sounds like a metallic rendition of “The Perfect Drug,” while the disoriented whispers and moans of “Dowsing” are sure to remind some of “Eraser.” Ending the album is a remix of “Incubate” by one of the genre’s godfathers, Justin K. Broadrick, transforming the slithering industrial barrage of the original track into something more akin to his JK Flesh material with caustic breakbeats and overdriven pads and bass grooves.
Even looking at the cover image by Jesse Draxler, evoking the cybernetic body horror of Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo series, one can discern that Body Prophecy is an even more arresting experience than its predecessor. This writer had stated that despite Hallucination Scene’s strong showing, Black Magnet was not yet likely to set the industrial/metal scene on fire; Body Prophecy readily and ravenously challenges that assessment, an album of inflamed and unrelenting force.