I grew up watching old Godzilla movies when I was a kid on a local channel that played weird movies in the afternoon on weekends. I was instantly drawn in by our gigantic hero doing battle with other monsters just as massive as they laid waste to the cities and bodies of water in which they tangled. How could you take your eyes off the screen?
Those old films went through my head as I took on the new split effort pitting Body Void and Keeper against each other on a three-track release you can grab in a few different forms. OK, so they’re not really fighting one another, but the music each band unleashes on this collection feels like there are titanic clashes going on, and the winner is you, the listener. We’ve visited with Body Void before, the Bay Area trio—Will Ryan (guitars/vocals), Parker Ryan (bass), Eddy Holgerson (drums)—that we heard from last year on thunderous, sobering EP “You Will Know the Fear You Forced Upon Us.” Oh, and if you get a chance, see them live. They’re devastating. While California’s Keeper returns with their first new music in five years. The last time we heard from them, it was on another split in 2015, that time with Old Witch, and they’re now operating as a duo—Jacob Lee (guitar, bass vocals) and Penny Keats (guitars, drums, vocals)—sounding as formidable as ever.
“Androgyne” begins Body Void’s section with drums marching solidly and feedback beginning to sprawl before the hellish pounding begins to take off. It’s insane to say this about a heavy metal band, but this band is earthquaking as fuck all the time, and this track doesn’t skimp on the ferocity. Will Ryan’s harsh wails strike as the music sludges along forcefully, feeling like smothering torture, as the music scrapes wounds, and aggressive pounding continues to unload. The shrieks go off and peel paint off the walls as muddy turbulence shakes guts, and the band completely destroys everything in front of it, slowing into a death march. The terrifying cries pummel again as the band unloads a final battering that leaves a gigantic crater in the earth.
“Trial and Error” kicks off Keeper’s contributions with horrifying howls and a black metal feel before the pace utterly smears, pummeling everything in place. Growls poke at open wounds while misery spills in buckets, as the tempo drubs, and the vocals continue to lay waste. Gloom rises and pummels before misery spreads, and you’re mentally defaced before the song bleeds into “Twenty” that simmers in feedback as the morose storming keeps darkening the scene. “Praise be to paradise,” is wailed amid a soup of severe doom and shrieks that mar skin, while the panic continues to increase. “Praise be to the misguiding path leading onward,” as thick black waves lap the shore, and the feedback erodes the track’s bones.
These two bands are nicely matched and deliver a split effort that batters you from the first moment to the last. Every second of this is punishing and does damage both physically and mentally, which you won’t mind sustaining once this thing’s over. It’s great to hear Body Void still destroying planets, and having Keeper back in our lives is a very welcome thing.
For more on Body Void, go here: https://www.facebook.com/bodyvoid
For more on Keeper, go here: https://www.facebook.com/keeperdoom/
To buy the album, go here: https://tridroid.bandcamp.com/album/body-void-keeper-split
For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/tridroidrecords
And here: https://www.romannumeralrecords.com/