Review: “This Heavy Void” by Bodysnatcher

Melbourne Florida Deathcore heavyweights Bodysnatcher have gradually been knocking walls down to make their own path since 2014 with a clutch of singles followed by their full debut “Death Of Me” in 2017 via Stay Sick Recordings. The success of that meant a re-issue with an extra 13 minutes of material in the form of 5 tracks and the band – ex-Chainsaw Disembowelment vocalist Kyle Medina, drummer Chris Whited (ex-Dealey Plaza, King Conquer, Lost Fortune) bassist Kyle Schope, former Dealey Plaza and Becons guitarist Kyle Carter – have gone on to become a well oiled touring machine. Much like Will Putney, when it comes to Deathcore, Chris Whited under the 1776 recordings moniker as Engineer, Producer, Mixer and Masterer in his own right has become a stamp of approval on numerous bands material of late, including that of the most recent album from Traitors. So it’s no surprise that he not only takes to the drum stool but also the production chair for his bands second full length album.

As you might expect given the albums title, “This Heavy Void” has a lot of emotion attached to it as a whole body of work. The opening cut and title track is a bruising Deathcore track that has it’s roots in Metallic Hardcore and chugs and swings with a verse that describes the void like a black plague of apocalypse that will wipe the slate clean. Appearing as pre-release single with music video directed by Eric DiCarlo at SquareUp Studios who handled all of them “Twelve/Seventeen” came with a quote from guitarist Kyle Carter: “Twelve/seventeen is a very important song to me because it actually helped me let out emotions I had been holding in for so long. The song is about my mom losing her battle with breast cancer when I was only twelve years old. It’s called twelve/seventeen not because that’s the day she passed, but because that was her birthday. We included the Christmas tree in the video because it was her tradition to have friends over and decorate it for her birthday every year. The clips in the video are also all real home movie clips, and that was very important to me that we included those. I hope this song hits for you, and helps you feel something“. Medina plays Carter’s role as the twelve year old boy looking at the situation and capturing not only the somber mood but also the emotion with some introspective lyrics. Those are complimented by a dark and atmospheric Deathcore groove that makes for a really enjoyable track, even if you didn’t know what it was about and live the crowd will be screaming along with the “Can I die yet?” lyric.

The first track we got the pleasure of hearing was “Merciless” which lyrically speak of an abusive father raising his hand to his children and Medina spitting lyrical venom about his disgust for the situation. He mixes up the vocal patterns with some Hardcore bark and some Deathcore growl bite while the band vary their attack with some Deathcore groove dropping into some Downtempo crawl that is a tone setter for the albums satisfying crunch. Introducing some Death Metal elements to the introduction “Nail in the Coffin” is pure fire with Carter playing some staccato riffs that allows Whited’s impressive kit work to play out in the space. Medina shows off with a few vocal lines which reach out and touch the black void to Slam which add a certain weight and gravity to the hard hitting mix. If Bodysnatcher were a party Deathcore band like Attila then “Never Homesick” could be a title about the bands love of the touring life but Bodysnatcher don’t go out like that. Instead it keeps with the sentiment of “Merciless” talking about an absent father figure standing with his back turned, a selfish cheap coward. It’s going to set the pit off. Calling out a snitch “Disappear” continues the flow and ark of the album both musically and lyrically, blending up the trio of styles and allowing the words to punch their weight with the full force of a wrecking ball.

The 61 second introduction piece “Wilted” is an instrumental set to the backdrop of pouring rain that builds the atmosphere up for “Torment” to bring out the breakneck riffs and blast beats as the tempo rises from the bands core level for a ripper. What Bodysnatcher do incredibly well within this one is to chop and change the tempos seamlessly so you get faster and slower parts that on paper wouldn’t work but end up making for a stand out moment. “Reparations” features the first of three guest appearances with Prison bassist John Pentz stepping up and Bodysnatcher come out swinging with the sound of the hammer being pulled back and some seriously savage lyrics and vocals that come off like the a fortune telling of a gangland murder. “Drowned” features the second guest appearance with Jorge Sotomayer of Adaliah stepping up to the microphone and name checking the album title in the flow of a cut about being pulled under by depression like being drowned. There is groove for days and breakdowns for weeks on the album with this track being no exception to the formula. Keeping the tracks short means they never get boring and nothing gets over played or repeated.

Returning to some Blackend Death Metal moments with “Black of My Eyes” which is the longest track on the album at just short of four minutes, it continues the lyrics about depression with a track that leaps sub-genres in single strides. “Turning Point” is the tale of a child witnessing a fathers suicide and the impact on the mental framework. The sheer venomous hatred is nothing short of vitriolic and the churning of the emotions over and over suits the soundscape perfectly as Bodysnatcher up their game for a final flourish of heavy hitting moments. Changing the game with an scathing attack on the hypocrisy and lies of organised religion, “Prisoners” features a guest appearance from James Muslow and wastes no time in delivering a destructive powerhouse groove to the table. If you wanted to be super critical of “This Heavy Void” you could say that it was probably 3 tracks over long. The lack of leads or synths to add something else it gets a bit stylistically repetitive, so while each track individually shines, it can lose your attention at the tail end with no let up in the relentless pummeling. That being said, 39 minutes of pure Deathcore Groove is what Bodysnatcher deliver and its a peach [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. This Heavy Void
  2. Twelve/Seventeen
  3. Merciless
  4. Nail in the Coffin
  5. Never Homesick
  6. Disappear
  7. Wilted (Instrumental)
  8. Torment
  9. Reparations (ft. John Pentz of Prison)
  10. Drowned (ft. Jorge Sotomayer of Adaliah)
  11. Black of My Eyes
  12. Turning Point
  13. Prisoners (ft. James Muslow)

This Heavy Void” by Bodysnatcher is out now via Stay Sick Recordings

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