Artist: immortal nightbody
Album: PAIN IS POWER
Release Date: March 10th, 2023
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Before Tuesday night I had never heard of immortal nightbody (IN), but then I went to see Protomartyr at the Casbah in San Diego and luckily for me, who should be opening the show but a captivating bass and vocal duo on stage playing over industrial/ebm beats. I was immediately intrigued by what I saw and heard, the sound was so unique, and their stage presence was also something unusual and interesting.
Before I get into the album, I want to say that I have a deep love of acts that implement gothic or punk elements with beats, acts such as LA’s PRAYERS or the UK’s Sleaford Mods have always captivated me. As a result when I saw and heard immortal nightbody upon entering the venue I was understandably excited at what I had stumbled across. I should clarify too that the act isn’t in fact an act, but a solo artist who employs a bass player live on stage. The man behind the music Sim Jackson Jr. is an LA native who happens to be a former punk/goth artist (formerly in the Vivids) who adopted rap and trip-hop elements into their music.
Taken at Casbah, San Diego 21/03/2023 by James Sweetlove
Alright let’s talk PAIN IS POWER, the latest offering in an impressive stream of recent outputs from the artist. Having gone back through IN’s catalogue and listened to everything that he has put out to date I can say confidently that this is his most refined, focused and polished release to date. There’s a perfect balance struck between the gothic/darkwave elements on one side and the hip hop/trip-hop elements on the other and all of it is tied together by pulsing, swooning ebm and industrial beats. The songs themselves are incredibly catchy due to these beats and Sim’s unique vocal flow, but they still carry a ton of atmosphere and moodiness, packing a punch both musically and lyrically.
There’s a clear depressive and self-destructive element to the music, particularly regarding the lyrics, but that isn’t the full range of their scope, also focusing on sexual themes and displaying a clear focus on anti-social, anti-establishment focused concepts. These themes elevate the music to an even higher level and show just why we all need to pay attention to IN, it’s not every day that you find an artists that makes albums that are so catchy and impactful at the same time.
Personally I absolutely love the electronic elements on the album and its heavy reliance on bass, the two are inseparable give the overall sound a richness and complexity. There’s a great fusion of 80s gothic influenced beats, trip hop beats, hip hop beats and more menacing industrial influences. The combination of these elements is what allows the album to be catchy, moody, and still pack a punch. The final piece of the puzzle is Sim’s vocals which are easily one of my favourite elements in his music. They have that perfect gothic/darkwave tone and inflection to them, the one that carries a real brooding quality to it. At the same time, they work perfectly for the hip hop style delivery that he works into his music. I love seeing the dichotomy between sung gothic verses and more rapid-fire hip-hop style verses, the back and forth is truly entertaining. The lack of guitar in the music really allows his voice to shine through and makes the lyrics easy to understand.
Picking a favourite track on the album is no easy feat but I think NO TIME is probably the one that stood out to me the most. The song has a truly hypnotic beat and rhythm that I guarantee will get stuck in your head. It also has my favourite vocal flow on the album, one that makes it virtually impossible to not move your head along to. There’s just an energy here that will keep you coming back for more. The lyrics to the track are just one more reason why I love it, as can be seen from this outtake below:
There is nothing up my sleeves
Nitrous oxide in my lungs
Chotas crawling down my street
Seems we’re running out of luck
Tilted in turning number 4
Microplastics plaque my brain
Made a promise but we did not swear it
God will not save us again
Cool, I can fuck up on my own
Loadies blowing up my phone
Sauced & lost like Peter Pan
I’m that joke that never lands
Out the sky, I get that ping
Doing crime like Capt. Hook
If you don’t pay what you owe
Get Revenge like Peter Hook
Drip so liquid bitch you know it’s flame retardant
Pills, cocaine and whippits get this party started
Down to the ash, we smoked the last
I’m on acid, shake that ass
Fuck me stupid
Grind me into dust
Liquor pouring not enough
I feel like I’m Danny Glover
I’m too old for all this shit
Pleasure seeking so cliche
Mind is hollow, temples gray
Everything is fucked
But we are celebrating
Cut me a line for everytime I’ve lost my mind
Our obituary hidden in the news tickers
Livestream Soul Defragmentation
I also really enjoy SHROUD it’s a much chiller track but it has a great atmosphere to it and sets a real mood when listening to it. This balancing act between more relaxed tracks and higher energy offerings is another thing that makes IN’s albums so captivating. For example the following track presence unknown is one of the highest energy songs on the album, with a relentlessly pulsing beat and an in your face energy.
Overall, this is fantastic album and an excellent introduction to immortal nightbody’s music. If you read the description of gothic, hip hop and electronic music and are turned off, I beg you to actually listen to the album before making a judgement. For me that combo makes me want to listen immediately, but I know not everyone is that way, so just listen before you judge, and you may be pleasantly surprised. For me this is easily in my top releases of March, and I look forward to what will come next, at least I know I won’t have to wait long given IN’s output rate.
Listen to and order the album: