Bay Area sludge/doom trio Body Void’s take on the genre is not borne out of the usual bong hits and fuzz, but of a fight for physical and mental survival, for the right to break free from prisons both within and without. Trading in crushing sludge metal that is just as likely to break into black metal or crust punk as it is cavernous doom, Body Void’s monolithic songs seem to go by in a fraction of their usual 15-20 minute runtimes, with carefully judged shifts in pace and dynamics adding a captivating edge that makes time almost irrelevant.
Album opener ‘Haunted’ centres itself around the kind of agonised riff-as-ordeal that Grief used to specialise in, but then breaks into a black metal/d-beat denouement that comes across as refreshing as it does violent. Lyrically, I Live Inside A Burning House addresses the living hell of mental illness and the struggle to live as a non-binary person in a world that does everything it can to deny and stamp out those identities. However, the weight of pain that Body Void express is matched by the sheer size and strength of their music. ‘Trauma Creature’ weaponises the sound of Dopethrone-era Electric Wizard, acting as a deflecting mirror for hatred, magnifying and sending it back tenfold.
Addressing either a distant future or a near present where the barriers of oppression have suddenly been broken drown, frontman Will Ryan screams “My voice will follow you / my voice will haunt you / my voice will bury you.” That, if nothing else serves as mission statement for I Live Inside A Burning House. It’s a monument to pain, but also a manual for survival.
Words: Andrew Day