The mini album “A Brief Memoriam” by Frail Body is proof that Deathwish Inc. is one of those handfuls that are able to gather a loyal following by representing a certain sound, aesthetic, ideology – you name it; they have a hand for picking unknown bands that fit their soundscope, giving them time and creative freedom and then incorporating their ideas into a catalog like no other. Frail Body from Rockford, Illinois, is a young trio that promises to follow in the footsteps of bands as diverse as Orchid and Touché Amoré with their modern wavey form of screamo, adding a shade of harshly, blasted and yet suffering, angsty hardcore to a flawless list of releases.
The band is able to provide gut-wrenching shrieks and epic turnarounds in the same song (“Your Death makes me wish heaven was real”) with singer Paul Shaffer filling the gap between Jacob Bannon and Jordan Dreyer. Nicholas Clemenson’s drums are pumping and ever-present but not drenching or dominating (“Old Friends”). The guitars played by Nic Kuczynski range from semi-acoustic intro to harsh shredding or even as if played randomly in the dark corner of a pub on a busy Friday evening (listen to the interlude “At Peace” where you can also hear the band’s friends). However, there is nothing on this record that happens randomly, everything seems to serve a thin red line, although only the first four songs are new while the second half was already released over two years ago.
That umbilical chord that “A Brief Memoriam” revolves around is the moment of having to let go of a beloved person the narrator sees dying. It looms in lines as “I guess you’ve lived a good life / Though you spent the last quarter dying and trying / Just one more day / Just one more year / Just one more moment of time” (the first lines from the opener “Pastel”) and becomes obvious with such clear statements as “I’ll hold your hand while you die / Delineate through your pale eyes / A shallow grey matching walls … But I’m trying to believe / That I’ll see you soon / In your new home” (“Your Death …”). It should be noted: never since “Stage Four” has the death of a beloved and all the emotions that come with it – despair, rage, denial, anger – been more at the center of attention from the perspective of those left behind.