Staff Pick: Body Farm takes stock of our ‘Living Hell,’ keeps swinging

The Columbus hardcore quartet headlines a release show at Used Kids on Friday, Feb. 25

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
Body Farm

“Justice is not a concept we read about in a book,” recites Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a snippet from a 2019 speech that kicks off Living Hell, the ferocious new EP from Columbus hardcore quartet Body Farm, out March 10, which the band will celebrate with a release show at Used Kids on Friday, Feb. 25, alongside openers Pillars and Wasp Factory. “Justice is about the water we drink. Justice is about the air we breathe. Justice is about how easy it is to vote. Justice is about how much ladies get paid. … Oftentimes, the most righteous thing you can do is shake the table.”

On Living Hell, the members of Body Farm don’t so much shake the table as reduce it to kindling, singer/howler Ocean-Breeze Kudla, guitarist Erek Kudla, bassist Alex Emmert and drummer Steven Brujoso repeatedly curling together like the four fingers of an aggressively swinging fist. 

The songs, most of which clock in around a minute, give or take, veer from heavy, sludge-rock brawlers (“Riot”) to breathless punk rippers (“Ohioan Solidarity”), unified by the underlying idea that our social and political realities are bad and getting worse. This is particularly true of the nightmarish title track, on which Ocean-Breeze Kudla appears to unload on the unbearable weight of the modern news cycle, a reality that continues to ring painfully true.

Rather than running from this ugliness, however, Body Farm repeatedly stares it down — “Close your eyes and embrace the oblivion,” Ocean-Breeze offers on “Death on Two Wheels.” It’s a consistently fearless approach, projecting the idea that perhaps it’s better to live fighting in hell than to stand silently by and be swallowed by it.