Listening to Body Void‘s newest full-length recording, I Live Inside a Burning House, is much like being trapped inside said burning house as the flames whip away at its structure. Eventually the house will collapse and if the occupant hadn’t already perished in the flames, they will be undoubtedly be crushed as everything comes crumbling down. Either way, death is inevitable.
Following 2016’s Ruins, I Live Inside a Burning House picks up where its predecessor left stylistically, but showcases a notable increase in dynamism and suffocating heaviness. The Bay Area trio’s unique melding of doom, sludge and crust returns in all of its caustic glory, but on a much grander scale this time around. The raw, metallic guitars and bludgeoning bass are tuned to subterranean lows and fight for dominance over thunderous percussion across sprawling compositions that extend well past the 10-minute mark. Vocalist Will Ryan’s tortured, throat-searing screeches propel the songs deeper into bleak territory, as if they weren’t bleak enough. With roughly 68 minutes at its disposal, I Live Inside a Burning House will drag listeners on a lengthy journey toward glorious misery.
The record opens with a brief introductory track titled “Intro/A Burning House” in which palm-muted, earth-shattering chords and eerie ambiance pave the way for what is to come. The 18-minute “Haunted” follows next and gives a real taste of what the record has to offer. The track opens with a gloomy, menacing riff that slowly builds into a monstrous display of deadly, corrosive sludge metal. Each dissonant doom chord crashes down upon the listener with insurmountable weight and reverberates violently with the bass like sheet metal. The song undergoes various subtle changes in speed and structure as it gradually reaches a mid-paced assaults that sound like Iron Monkey dipped in acid, as well as cacophonous, d-beat hardcore stampedes.
“Trauma Creature” picks up where “Haunted” left off with over 16 minutes of unpredictable doom. The track lumbers along with angular, grimy riffs whose notes linger in thick clouds of feedback after every attack. Eventually the song bleeds into a burst of discordant powerviolence that will have listeners picking their teeth off the floor, but not before a death march of avalanche-inducing sludge and foreboding, siren-like leads pulverize them into dust.
Doom metal records that feature songs with ludicrously long runtimes tend to fall prey to meandering paces as certain bands like to ride out certain riffs longer than necessary with little to no variation. Body Void avoid these pitfalls by crafting lengthy songs that are constantly in motion. The changes in rhythm and structure can be subtle, as previously stated, but they are often precursors to unexpected, violent transitions that are always gratifying. The 22-minute closing track “Given” could have gone wrong and become dull at any moment, but the band avoid this thanks to the reasons listed above. Just when a riff begins to overstay its welcome, the song changes and enters a new stage.
I Live Inside a Burning House is a colossal, bitter and uncompromising listen that should be on every doom metal fan’s radar if it isn’t already.
Release Date: May 11, 2018
Label: Crown and Throne Ltd/Dry Cough Records/Seeing Red Records
Favorite Tracks: “Trauma Creature” and “Phantom Limb”
For Fans Of: Primitive Man, Weltesser, Fister and Northless