Review: Body Void/Keeper Split LP

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Let’s say you want to punish yourself, for whatever reason. Maybe you drank a lot last night and came into the office anyway. Maybe you woke up naked, covered in blood, and in the middle of a cornfield. Maybe you thought about voting for Mayor Pete. Whatever the case, you could do a lot worse than putting on the new split Body Void/Keeper LP.

Both hailing from sunny California, Body Void and Keeper approach sludge metal in different ways. Body Void hew much closer to the grime the genre is known for, drenching their songs in anguished shrieks and piercing feedback. They’re often content to grind along at a snail’s pace with only occasional blasts into hardcore-influenced territory to break up the crushing dread.

Keeper is no stranger to feedback, but their production is rawer in a way that masks some of the painful high-end that marks Body Void’s oeuvre. Their work is melodically simpler while featuring drum work that borders on industrial; it wouldn’t shock me to find several Godflesh records on this duo’s shelf.

Body Void’s “Androgyne” kicks things off with pounding drums and opening feedback before diving into the sludge/doom riffs that made last year’s You Will Know the Fear You Forced Upon Us one of my 2019 top 10s. This band is consistently one of the best and most exciting in the scene in 2020, and “Androgyne” is no exception. Crawling beneath 10 tons of feedback or piling ahead beneath pained shrieks, this is sludge metal on par with any of the scene’s originators.

Keeper contributed two tracks to the split, “Trial & Error” and “Twenty.” Both tracks are of a piece, featuring grinding riffs built over the top of subtle and frequently complex drum rhythms. Both songs stick well within the genre’s doom-adjacent areas, dwelling on downtuned riffs at glacial tempos. “Trial and Error” is the more traditional of the two, while “Twenty” breaks from traditional songwriting entirely, slipping from glowering riffs into ambient noise beneath ranting  harsh vocals.

Despite sharing so many of the same elements, it’s fascinating how immediately distinct Body Void and Keeper prove to be when kept in close quarters. Their split proves an effective teaser for both; every time I listen to it I immediately want more from the two groups.

If anyone out there is somehow unfamiliar with sludge in 2020, this is the place to start. If you’re a fan of the classics and looking for some new blood in the scene, this is the split to buy. If you just like torturing your ears in the best possible way, take a listen to this shit right here.

4.5 out ov 5 Flaming Toilets

Body Void/Keeper Split LP is out now through Roman Numeral Records. You can pick up a copy over at Bandcamp.

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