Generally speaking, sludge metal is not about good times or made by happy people. While depression, divorce and drug addiction have previously inspired other sludge albums, Body Void is the first time I’ve seen a band tackle the topic of queer identity via heavy, crushing, knuckle-dragging doom. I kinda wish this promo came with a lyric sheet.
I Live Inside a Burning House offers five tracks spanning nearly 69 minutes—there are a lot of longer songs here. After a two-minute instrumental intro, “Haunted” sets the despondent tone with nearly 19-minutes of slow, downtuned sounds. An initial doomy riff rings out over a Neurosis-style drumbeat for nearly two minutes before the first slow ‘n heavy riff hits, following shortly by some tortured, unintelligible screams à la Primitive Man. The song crawls along at a mid-paced death-doom rumble for a couple minutes, before throwing some more neck-wrecking slow-mo breakdowns at you, and adding a few triads around the 11:30 mark, before going full-on black metal about three minutes later. Things settle into more of a sludge ‘n roll groove for the last three minutes or so. The vocals sound like Mike IX on a particularly bad day, with a bit of black metal bile thrown in. It’s pretty clear that these are not shiny, happy people.
“Trauma Creature” is an equally unpleasant experience, coming in just shy of 17 minutes. This one starts with some tremolo-picked black metal riffs, albeit played at a slower-than-usual pace, before another round of heavy breakdowns kicks in, those tortured vocals featuring more prominently in the space between notes. Around the 6:30 mark, the pace picks up frantically, more hardcore than black metal, for just over a minute, before slowing back down to a virtual crawl, practically in drone territory, then back to a familiar sludgy stomp. At just over nine minutes, “Phantom Limb” is the closest thing to straightforward sludge, with a downtuned attack landing somewhere between Eyehategod and Zoroaster. The song slows to a swirling cloud of feedback around the four-minute mark, then gets a little more spaced out and spacier from there.
But that’s just the tip of the doom-berg. The album ends with “Given,” 22 minutes of some of the slowest, most ominous sludge you’ll hear this year. There are a few more mid-paced sections, but for the most part, it’s a dish served low and slow, sorta like an extended Noothgrush cut, eventually mellowing out (except in the vocal department) somewhere around the 14-minute mark. But then it’s right back to the heavy, pounding sludge not two minutes later, with some particularly crushing breakdowns coming in around the 20-minute mark. These guys are touring with CHRCH in July—I expect a few blown eardrums on said shindig.
Vinyl and cassette release by Dry Cough Records and Crown and Throne Ltd.:
CD release by Seeing Red Records:
JUN 12 Body Void @ The Garth, Las Vegas, NV
JUN 15 CHRCH / Body Void / Damien / TBA @ NEON ROSE BAR, El Paso, TX
JUN 20 Body Void // Coffin Fit // Alder @ The Sinkhole, St. Louis, MO
JUN 21 Body Void (CA) | Thirdface | Dizzy Piece | TBA @ That 70’s House
JUN 22 Summer Metal Night @ The Wooly, Gainesville, FL
JUN 28 Body Void, Sunrot, Devoidov, Dutchguts, Coward @ Meatlocker, Montclair, NJ
JUN 30 HISS, Body Void, Hopeless Losers, KØVVNS+Scrotal Tear @ Geno’s Rock Club, Portland, ME
JUL 8 Body Void [CA] Full Bore [CO] Euth @ Buckhorn Bar & Parlor, Laramie, WY
JUL 10 Body Void, Sans Ami, & Gravity Lord @ Shea’s Tavern, Reno, NV