Body Void – Ruins

My first impression of Body Void’s debut LP, Ruins (Crown & Throne / Dry Cough) was that this album is both painful and punishing to get through. But in the very best way.

Listening to Ruins is akin to physical pain, but that pain where you totally wanted it. Once this San Franciscan power trio is done working you over, your bones will regret it when it rains.

But why is this such a traumatic aural experience? Because Body Void’s doom/sludge/crust trifecta brings the heavy. Because Ruins is heavier than your uncle’s Lincoln Continental. Because this 4 song LP feels like Mama June after she lays siege to the Bellagio buffet. Songs like ‘Swan’ and ‘Erased’ are the sounds that keep Manowar up at night.

Don’t believe me? Fine, pop it in the stereo and have the aforementioned tracks greet you like a fist to solar plexus. And if the glacier tension-filled pace of ‘Swan’ doesn’t do it for you then ‘Erased’ will certainly have you wondering where the blows are coming from, effectively interjecting brief blasts of punk wrath into a concrete mix, not unlike the swamp dwellers in Eyehategod were known to do. For a stellar example, see Dopesick (Century Media), which is a great album. Maximum impact and efficiency are reached on these two because they’re framed within the confines of 9 minutes, unlike the remaining songs, which extend well past that timeframe.

It’s not to say that a cut like ‘Monolith’ isn’t up to par, quite the contrary, but the best riffs and bits (including the slowest Slayer lead ever) come after 6 minutes have ticked by. Album closer and title-track ‘Ruins’ is also good, but could’ve benefited from some editing, a few more tempo changes or even an increase in the psychedelic flourishes that close out the piece. Then again that’s the inherent hiccup to many a sludge/doom band; a compelling riff gets sold out at times in exchange for the perception of heaviness.

Ruins is a bit of a musical challenge that rewards patience and destroys false metal. You’ll leave bruised and scarred, but you’ll willingly come back for more.