The colliding perspective lines and veiled dissolute countenance of the figure depicted on the cover art for eclectic San Francisco, California sludge metal band Body Void‘s second album speak to existential frustration, dysphoria, and defiance expressed within. The dual originating points form disagreeing sects that form pointless, unnatural visions when they connect in front of the subject. Sludge metal album covers rarely convey theme and listening experience so well. Brutalized by self, misunderstood by a fearsome society and numbed over as a result ‘I Live Inside A Burning House’ is the inconsolable cathartic deluge of those tortured by the greater idiocy of their environment. It is exactly as raw, honest and ugly as sludge metal intends to be.
After a few noisome clunker demos as Devoid the trio renamed and refocused their efforts as Body Void. On thier impressive debut full-length ‘Ruins’ in 2016 the lyrics presented the unique perspective of a transgender person conveying poetically their plight, furor and frustration. The cathartic defiance that exists in most sludge actually translates much the same from any perspective yet I appreciate the bold, angry and honest language expressed that I’d never heard on a sludge record previous. The gritty rumble of ‘Ruins’ production sound and performances carried some of the same identity and poetic vision into ‘I Live Inside A Burning House’ but with some small changes in style. The hardcore influences perk up far less often and the drone/doom elements are extended to nigh-Corrupted levels while the distortion is seemingly cranked to absurdity on both guitar and bass.
Much like compatriots Primitive Man the abrasion and extreme length of this second album offers unfaltering extremity. Bursts of stylistic aggression provide the only notable variation between overly extended, doomed lulls. Body Void‘s musical aggression is a sluice of Grief‘s lumbering doom, snippets of Iron Monkey‘s hardcore lawnmower, and the droning motions of Khanate. The vocal affect is appropriate for the extreme sludge genre but sometimes conveys more of a performative habit than an instrument. My only complaint from ‘Ruins’ was when the machine slowed down to a crawl and big honking riffs took center stage, they were interrupted by vocals for the duration of the riff (see: “Ruins” compared to “Given”). This leftover-hardcore tendency gives the sludge riff no room to breathe in a 15-20 minute song. Body Void have given their guitarist a mile wide radius to do their thing across the 68 minute duration of ‘I Live Inside A Burning House’.
The length of the experience both helps and hinders my personal enjoyment of the listen. On one hand their ideas are expansive, gloomily depraved and conveyed with slow-hammered chords of dread throughout. It is a satisfying rumble that only held up for a handful of listens because I was so interested in the lyrics, art, and sound. It took a short while to grow weary of the tedium of those slower rumblings after I was already familiar with the lyric sheet and with points of interest so few and far between. Though it couldn’t hold my honest interest for more than 4-5 full listens that isn’t a bad run. I found self-expansion in the art of it and appreciated the more exciting meshing of doom riffs and hardcore/crust punk influences yet the over-extension of the compositions amounted to drab padding between blips importance. Would recommend “Haunted” and “Given” for preview as the ~40 minute sinew of the experience.
|Released||May 11, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on Seeing Red Records’ Bandcamp!||Follow Body Void on Facebook|
The worms in my mind. 3.0/5.0
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