Body Void – Ruins (Crown and Throne Ltd/Dry Cough Records, 31 January 2017)
Body Void – I Live Inside a Burning House (Crown and Throne Ltd/Dry Cough Records/Seeing Red Records, 11 May 2018)
At some point throughout all these years of running this website, it has become apparent that it’s very difficult for someone to go back and remember everything they heard at the end of the year, pick out all the best things, and rank them in some kind of order. And as we’ve grown and attracted more attention, with the hundreds and hundreds of things submitted here each year, to do so nowadays would be downright impossible. So here’s a quick pro-tip: the start of each new year brings with it the start of a new list. For example, the first seventeen releases from 2017 would have made that year’s list by default. Once the eighteenth release rolls around, was it better than anything already listed? Then it gets slotted in there somewhere, and everything else gets bumped down a slot. And so on through the end of December.
Naturally there will be a need to revisit the listed items at year-end, to see how well they’ve held up to repeated listens and to solidify the order. Also, anything that just narrowly missed making the cut will be kept track of throughout the year, in case it feels like there need to be any substitutions made by that time. But for the most part, it’s been a pretty decent system.
Arriving at the actual point of all this nonsense — with a January release date, San Franciscan trio Body Void‘s debut LP Ruins would have been one of the earlier records to get ranked in the 2017 list, and whatever else came in throughout the following eleven months, it ended up hanging around in that top 10 the entire time. And now, their follow-up I Live Inside a Burning House has just been released this month, boldly demanding a spot in the current year’s list (and not looking likely to be unseated any time soon).
In this article we’ll give both albums a listen, and then at the bottom don’t miss the list of their June/July tour dates, all the way across the country and back again!
Last year’s Ruins — four songs averaging just about ten minutes apiece — is aptly named. Extreme atmosphere, distant-sounding music, gritty and raw with tons of weight and gravitas. Briefly the band flirts with quicker tempos: the first half of “Erased” (and again at the very end) they employ almost a punk-rock beat (albeit with a bit of a stutter-step rhythm), but before long they slow way down, then way WAY down. Somehow the quieter and sparser parts seem even heavier than the rest, like the space between notes is tangible and substantial, and full of existential dread.
The vocals here express nothing but pure pain and suffering, a terrible shriek/howl the whole way through. Particularly in the second-to-last song, the especially accurately named “Monolith,” which is filled with long, drawn-out, hair-raising screeches.
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I Live Inside a Burning House contains one more track than its predecessor, but if you don’t count the two-minute introduction of crunchy noise and spooky atmosphere, we’re left with four songs that average more than sixteen minutes each. Not only are they longer (for the most part), but also crunchier, grimier, and with vocals that sound even more putrid and acrimonious.
From the rumbly-crunchy massive sonic explosions that litter “Trauma Creature” to the process of devolution in “Phantom Limb” whereby the sound ultimately reduces to a chaotic primordial ooze by the end, this album is all about ripping out every ounce of inner turmoil and giving it off into the universe.
By the time the gargantuan final track “Given” reaches its midpoint, the sound is utterly dismal — but almost like aggressively dismal — lending the impression of a dying star: it slowly contracts as it burns out and fades away, until it reaches a critical point where its gravity collapses into itself and all of its remaining energy bursts outward in a huge, fiery supernova.
You can stream or download Ruins using the Bandcamp player below, although it appears all physical variants are sold out. I Live Inside a Burning House is also streaming now, or you have options to buy the digital version, CD, vinyl (US), cassette (US), or vinyl/cassette (UK/EU).
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Body Void Summer Tour 2018
6/11 Fullerton CA – Slidebar*
6/12 Las Vegas NV – Cornish Pasty Co.
6/13 Phoenix AZ – The Rogue*
6/14 Tucson AZ – Cans Deli*
6/15 El Paso TX – Neon Rose*
6/16 Austin TX – Austin Terror Fest – Barracuda*
6/17 Dallas TX – Reno’s*
6/18 Denver CO – Hi-Dive*
6/19 Kansas City MO – Revolution Records
6/20 St Louis MO – Sinkhole
6/21 Nashville TN – That 70s House
6/22 Gainesville FL – The Wooly
6/23 St Petersburg FL – Fubar
6/24 Greenville SC – Radio Room
6/25 Richmond VA – Cary St. Cafe
6/26 Baltimore MD – Sidebar
6/27 Philadelphia PA – Century Bar
6/28 Montclair NJ – Meatlocker
6/30 Portland ME – Geno’s Rock Club
7/1 Burlington VT – Monkey House
7/3 Toronto ON – The Garrison
7/4 Detroit MI – Trumbullplex
7/5 Chicago IL – Live Wire Lounge
7/6 Minneapolis MN – Hexagon
7/7 Omaha NE – O’Leaver’s Pub
7/8 Laramie WY – Buckhorn
7/9 Salt Lake City UT – The Underground
7/10 Reno NV – Shea’s Tavern
*= w/ CHRCH