The new split 12″ from the California sludge and doom metal bands Body Void and Keeper packs a stunning, mesmerizing whirlwind of blackened sludge metal fury. Both bands operate in similar musical space, but they each leave a memorable and unique mark. Generally, the release centers on relentless musical agony that the bands have somehow made invigorating with a deranged flair, like the songs represent that point past initial pain when shock sets in and feelings turn to twisted, demented bliss. Thanks to the sheer thundering physical power of all the performances, that pain and subsequent musically expressed psychosis can’t help but jump into the psychological realm too.
Body Void open the release with a venomous, almost fifteen-minute long track called “Androgyne,” which ties into the band’s established theme of confronting social pressure on people outside of traditional Western gender roles. The band begin with surges of misery-drenched sludge metal riffs that are methodically repeated over and over in increasingly twisted forms, and in the latter part of their contribution, they majorly spike the energy to the point that wherever you’re listening, the raw energy of feeling this song performed right in front of you shines through. They never let up with their physically expressed musical agony, but they launch into barrages of absolutely thundering, buzzsaw riffs that feel like the falls of massive sledgehammers every time one of them hits. Seriously — while the minutes appear alongside also very memorable segments, the crescendo of this Body Void song feels just about ready made to be unforgettable.
The Keeper songs (there are two of them) feel similarly brazenly blistering. Their surging, harsh, blackened sludge metal riffs that define “Trial & Error” feel so crushingly intense that they might as well be the musical expression of the last heaves of breath from a dying man. There’s no polish in sight as their riff attacks careen out with chest-thumping intensity. The moderate pace of the repeats of these agonizing riffs turns the listening experience into a taste of that psychedelic pain, which feels wildly topped off by the band’s second track, called “Twenty.” Large portions of that song feature just hypnotically repeating waves of harsh feedback (accompanied by harshly screamed vocals) that top off the experience with an unforgettable flourish.
The release is set to be available in full on January 15 via the Florida-based (and new seeming) Roman Numeral Records. The music follows a well-received March 2019 release from Body Void called You Will Know the Fear You Forced Upon Us and, in Keeper’s case, a 2015 split record with the black metal group Old Witch. This new record feels hellishly bleak — and spectacularly thrilling.
Pre-order the record at this link. (Seriously, you’re not going to want to miss this.) Also, Tridroid Records have cassette copies available at this link. In the meantime, listen to that previous Body Void record below.