Written by: Izzy
What does anxiety feel like to you? When your chest tightens up and breathing becomes heavy? Sweat dripping down your neck and your heart beating like a kick drum? Being paralyzed with fear, unable to move, your back becoming heavy and the air around you turning into a thick sludge you can barely drag yourself through? For me, it’s all of the above, because anxiety feels to me like how Body Void sounds.
This Californian drone-punk-sludge-metal-death-crust-doom-core trio creates some of the most viscerally disgusting and hideous sludge in existence, and I have loved them since the second I first heard them. I could go on for hours about my infatuation with their music. However, I would be remiss for not mentioning Keeper as well, despite my unfamiliarity with them. These Cali contemporaries provide the perfect companionship to Body Void here, and are one of the few bands with a comparable style, except with an extra blackened edge, partnering flawlessly with Body Void by adding their own flavour to the split.
This duo creates something that I can only call “mercilessly fuckin’ heavy.” The sheer weight of this split is comparable only to that of a neutron star. It is relentless and will rip you apart with vicious rancor, and then crush you under the weight of a dying sun. Please throw your slam and deathcore albums in the trash if you’re thinking right now “Eh, no way it’s heavier than this other album I like.” Because it is.
The thick smog of despondence surrounding these tracks creates a suffocating atmosphere, it is harsh and soaked in uneasiness, unforgiving, harrowing, fierce and violent. The impenetrable darkness of these tracks could easily be demystified by bland lyrics, but Body Void’s lyrical focus on topics like politics, gender-identity, and mental health have always greatly resonated with me, and Keeper’s lyrics about depression, emptiness, and (what I interpret as) failed relationships compliment them, if “complementary” can even be an adjective that applies to such dismal and spirit-crushing lyrics. Even just reading them gives me second-hand depression (as if my regular depression wasn’t enough), seeing how much raw heartache is put into their words. Hearing them is another story entirely.
"Androgyne" is everything I love about Body Void summed up in one track: shrill, savage shrieks, pounding war drums, and guitar that obliterates your speakers with hideously loud bass and screaming amp feedback. An amorphous song that shift between slow and deafening, to stripped back, hushed, and then to grimy and ferocious with no regards for structure, outside of making it sound ruthless and passionate. Teetering between minimalism and maximalism, Body Void are both the macrocosm and the microcosm. As above, so below.
Keeper, on the other hand, bring a blackened viciousness to the table, and a tighter, less messy tone (which is by no means a bad thing), caked with the coarseness of hardcore and irreverent filth of sludge. Through two hideous and blistering tracks they prove they are deserving of standing amongst the likes of Body Void, and hopefully this split will bring them the attention they deserve.
Only a few weeks into the year, this collaboration between the uncontested royalty of modern sludge and up-and-comers dripping with potential and talent may just be one of the heaviest releases of the year. It is crestfallen, chaotic and untamed, and oozes dread out of every wall and crevice like pitch black tar, filled with sonic contrasts and unrestrained combustions of noise. It will snap your neck, destroy your headphones, crush your soul, and leave you craving more.
Body Void/Keeper - Split will be released Jan. 15th from Tridroid Records (cassette) and Roman Numeral Records (Vinyl).
Providing thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy, and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a groggy-eyed, highfalutin peasantry.