ALBUM REVIEW: Body Void – ‘Atrocity Machine’

Artwork for Body Void’s ‘Atrocity Machine’

Among the ranks of doom-metal, Body Void are one of a very few that can make that doom feel not just impending, but here and propagating right now. It’s the kind of thing that comes from a band for whom limits are a suggestion, or at most, a flexible guideline. And while that eradicates any semblance of crossover potential—though it’s hard to imagine Body Void themselves could even care less—it’s not like notice hasn’t been taken. The acclaim awarded to 2021’s Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth wasn’t nothing, and more so than other noiseniks for whom a brief window in the sun with just about break through their own abyssal cloud, Body Void have actually stuck around.

Well, okay, they all often do to some capacity, but Atrocity Machine feels like a follow-up held a crucial bit higher by anticipation. Again, Body Void have an edge that so many of their contemporaries lack, and a progressive ethic that can’t disperse the thickness of their own pitch-dark, but definitely has power within it. Thus, Atrocity Machine comes bearing an overwhelming energy. No punches are pulled; no torrent of misanthropy is downplayed. Body Void are committed to their crusade wholeheartedly, and the results are as relentless as you’d expect.

Of course, that’s also a roundabout way of emphasising how much of an unkind, unwelcoming listen this is, in a way that’s entirely by design. As far as bottling and recreating the mood of a crumbling, late-capitalist hellscape (particularly from the perspective of the marginalised, subjugated folks for whom the impact is even more bone-deep), you’d struggle to find an experience that knows how deliberately harrowing it is more than Atrocity Machine. There’s not an inkling of melody to be found here; even the 30-second intro Microwave is little more than blown-out static crunch, in what might be the album’s most easily-digestible sonic turn. Because from then on, Atrocity Machine is five more tracks, running six to eleven minutes each, in which Body Void’s warpath extends far and wide. This is the slow, hard shit, screaming and groaning under an immensity that, from start to end, is absolute.

And that’s really where the conversation and analysis of Atrocity Machine is locked. It’s a monolith of a listen that does chip something away with every spin, to where it’s really not suited for just a casual session. You actively have to steel yourself for what’s at hand most times, given how the caustic aspect of Body Void is pushed forward more than any other. From a production standpoint, the ethos appears to be in making every possible source of sound as imposingly, destructively enormous as possible. Mostly that’s a case of saturating the mix with screeching electronics that cry and splutter and spark out to make the dread all the more palpable. It’s a fittingly discomforting palette where anything tuneful has no bearing whatsoever. That further extends into the snarling booms of bass and cavernous drums, in the sort of wailing wall of noise that almost drowns out Willow Ryan’s vocals entirely. Though that’s hardly a detriment when they serve more as an extra bit of fuel to stoke this immolating blaze, in curt bellows around irreversible climate disasters and police violence, and the systematic grinding down of the populace that’s musically represented here borderline flawlessly.

To that end, there’s really no criticism or subjective view that can really outdo that. For what they set out to achieve, Body Void get there with flying colours, where the difficulty is the entire purpose and extending that barrier both upwards and outwards only makes them more successful. That’s to say, there’s a certain demographic of listener who’ll utterly adore this, particularly in what transpires as an even harder take on what Body Void had done previously. This is the sound of a band staring deep into the maw of disaster and collapse, and remaking what they’ve been exposed to, brick by brick. The fact they can go this intense with it is definitely cool to see, regardless on any other stance you might take. Even when it’s emphatically not for everyone—though it definitely deserves to be experienced, at least once—the importance that Body Void exude that’s a rarity in music this extreme speaks for itself.

For fans of: Author & Punisher, Wolf Eyes, Pharmakon

‘Atrocity Machine’ by Body Void is released on 13th October on Prosthetic Records.

Words by Luke Nuttall

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