Body Void – Bury Me Beneath this Rotting Earth Review

After recent (and in one case accidental) forays into genres somewhat removed from my traditional hunting grounds – funeral fucking drone1 and death metal –  I am pleased this week to be back in more familiar waters with some sludgy doom. Vermont two-piece, Body Void return with their third full-length, Bury Me Beneath this Rotting Earth. The band’s first on Prosthetic Records, Bury Me follows 2018’s caustic I Live Inside a Burning House and, like all Body Void‘s output to date, comes wrapped in starkly beautiful black and white artwork, courtesy of Indonesian artist, Ibay Arifin Suradi. Body Void began life as a trio but jettisoned their bassist, seemingly after 2019 EP, You Will Know the Fear You Forced upon Us2, continuing life as a two-piece, with Eddy Holgerson on drums and Willow Ryan on everything else. Since their 2016 debut, RuinsBody Void has forged an uncompromising, and largely unchanging, path through sludge’s slower, doomier regions, but has life as a duo changed anything in their oh so bleak outlook?

No. Bury Me is another foray into dark, unrelenting depths of blackened doom sludge. Even more so, in fact. Grossly distorted and rumbling guitars contort themselves around stuttering drums and rasping shrieks, recalling Charger‘s Tim Machin. Body Void has never been about speed but Bury Me takes their bludgeoning medium to a whole new level of slow, with the glacial pace interrupted even less. Where on previous albums the band periodically kicked up the tempo, reaching a chaotic sludgy groove at times, on this latest effort, the mesmeric pace is almost relentless, reaching the drone-like levels of intensity seen on Mizmor‘s epic “Cairn to God,” and only fleetingly spilling over into anything above comatose. The crust punk frenzy briefly let loose just shy of eight minutes into “Fawn” and at almost the same point in closer “Pale Man” offer some release but it’s the blackened tumult that is the back third of “Forest Fire” which shows off what Body Void can do in this department.

Even at it’s slowest, Bury Me is intense, however. The warped guitars and tortured vocals of Ryan come drenched with venom, which is only amplified by the electronic grime added by solo noise musician, and Body Void touring bassist, Entresol. Much of that venom comes, I think, from the subject matter dealt with in the lyrics. These are a visceral dissection of the current state of the world, and the USA in particular, and the impact of humanity on our slowly suffocating planet. All the hate and fury endemic in that message are felt in the grinding, bruising brutality of the music as well as in Ryan’s voice, with something of Old Man Gloom‘s “Shuddering Earth” about it. Body Void muster all the continent crushing sludge of Jupiterian but slowed down to the droning pace of Bell Witch, and with more than touch of Primitive Man thrown in.

At its simplest, this is The Funeral Orchestra playing blackened sludge, with squealing electronics added into the mix. And it’s effective. For maybe half an hour. The problem is that Bury Me is over 50 minutes long, with each of its four tracks clocking in around the 13-minute mark. For all its harsh atmospherics and reverberating fury, Body Void simply don’t do enough on Bury Me to hold the attention for that long. This is down to the writing and pacing of the album because those brief moments, when the band decide to step things up, showcase how effective the changes of tempo can be in giving weight to crawling horror that is the backbone of Bury Me. Add to this the fact that the band’s acerbic lyrical message is entirely lost in the drawn out, incomprehensible screams of Ryan – whose performance behind the mic I like, for the avoidance of doubt – and Bury Me feels a little heavy on atmospherics and light on content. The production is exactly what you would expect for a record like this and delivers a harsh, claustrophobically oppressive sound that weighs on the listener in a fairly calculated way.

I ‘liked’ – if that word can be applied to what Body Void have created – my time with Bury Me Beneath this Rotting Earth well enough. Indeed, there are flashes of brilliance about Body Void‘s latest effort but it feels drawn out to such epically distended proportions that some of its impact is lost. The same atmosphere could have been created, in a more cutting way, with 15 minutes shaved off Bury Me, placing the punky explosions of fury closer together, thereby heightening the impact of the ponderous, merciless sludgy doom that predominates. A solid record, marred slightly by bloat.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 224 kbps mp3
Label: Prosthetic Records
Websites: bodyvoid.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/bodyvoid
Releases Worldwide: April 23rd, 2021

Show 2 footnotes

  1. The ‘fucking’ is silent. No, not in a good way.
  2. Some might argue that this two-track record ought to be counted as an album, given its 38 minute run, but the consensus appears to be that it was an EP, including by the band’s promo writers.
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