Splits are always a unique adventure given that the contents can be completely homogeneous between the artists, or induce a brief moment of musical delirium from a complete subgenre switch. With the Body Void/Keeper split the only whiplash experienced might be from head banging to the immense wave of arresting sludge. Although Body Void’s home base is no longer the Bay Area, this offering is a contemporary snapshot of the West Coast sludge influence that has been passed down from Noothgrush, 16, and Toadliquor.
Body Void have gouged out a tortured sonic path in the realms of sludge/doom that cuts as deep as any arbiter of the genres. The past two years have seen them release a masterpiece in I Live Inside A Burning House (2018), and the crushing EP You Will Know The Fear You Forced Upon Us (2019). 2020 shows there is no slowing down to their output. Keeping in line with their approach to anti-anything that is hate, Body Void’s offering, ‘Androgyne’, is a skull-shattering ode to androgyny and the societal problems associated with merely expressing yourself without bias in such a polarising world. The agonising crawl of sound is a poison that invades the mind like a cancer, much like how hate and bigotry seep through society like blackened glaze.
As another band of Californian origin, it is no surprise that Keeper have found their way onto the B-side of the split. The two tracks entitled ‘Trial And Error’ and ‘Twenty’ have a total runtime around 18 minutes. Although the tracks are separated, the general feel is incredibly through-composed. The lyrical content is harrowing, invoking a dark sense of introspection, with one moment in particular on ‘Trial And Error’ declaring “every thought has repentance”. It’s a journey into the mind that is reminiscent of SUMAC’s 2016 release What One Becomes, taking the ambiguity of the human mind and condition, splitting open the skull and letting the stagnant fluid of depression, anxiety and self-doubt drip out.
The overall scope of Body Void/Keeper’s split is a debilitating dive into existence, dealing with concepts of self expression, and how one expresses and copes with their own thoughts and psyche. It represents a beautiful moment of reflection on society, and demonstrates what both bands are capable of producing.
Words by Garrett A. Tanner