Album of the Day: Body Void – Ruins


Criminally underrated, it feels even by Body Void themselves, Ruins was my introduction to the then Bay Area, now Vermont based “drone punk” trio. Preceding the wrenching direct address of gender dysphoria in their 2018 follow-up I Live Inside a Burning House, or the overt politicism of this year’s You Will Know the Fear You Forced Upon Us, the subject matter may appear here somewhat more garden-variety sludge metal in its existential torment, mirroring the themes of Grief, Corrupted and Noothgrush, but the starry backdrop to the cover image should not be misinterpreted as mere aestheticism. The sonic and lyrical affect throughout Ruins is entirely aligned with Thacker’s post-Schopenhauerian cosmic pessimism: “dark metphysics of negation, nothingness, and the non-human.” This the the blackness in which Thacker locates black metal, and the blackness of Keiji Haino’s So, Black is Myself , and its single track, “Wisdom that bless I, who live in the spiral joy born at the utter end of a black prayer.”

Within these pieces is located the swirling triumvirate of apotheosis, aphaireisis and apophasis. I am replete with such emptiness. I am empty with such horrific fullness. I feel everything, and thus I feel nothing. I am body. I am void.

Crushed beneath the tide
Of emotions
Chest open wide

I am the planet
Surface scorched
Surrounded by ruins

My body filled with darkness
Eternal storm
Lost inside Jupiter’s eye

Lives inside me
Watch me born from a star
Shoved dripping from a cosmic nursery

Collapses inside me
Never never again
Look beneath our patterned existence



Album of the Day: Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath


What is this that stands before me?
Figure in black which points at me
Turn around quick, and start to run
Find out I’m the chosen one
Oh no!


While Sunn O)))’s “Báthory Erzsébet” may stand alone with regard to the utilization of a lead singer’s genuine terror, the eponymous first song from the eponymous first album by the unquestionable Black Sabbath was the logical conclusion to Robert Johnson in establishing a musical legacy of concurrent familiarity and alienation in the face of evil. Although arguments over who constitutes “the first heavy metal band” rage on, even ignoring the unforgivably boring candidates like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, and instead acknowledging the proto-Oh Sees stoner psyche of Blue Cheer, the proto-industrial barbarism of Cro-Magnon, or the para-ecclesiastical gothicism of the band who just straight-up called themselves H.P Lovecraft, Black Sabbath are most certainly what Foucault might consider the instigators of heavy metal’s discursivity.

What sets Black Sabbath so apart is the manner in which they managed both to establish a genre, and play with it, all at once. They draw the defining line in the sand that demarcates “heavy metal,” and yet decide not to step fully over it – combining old psychedelic rock practices with an unabashedly ominous aesthetic, they defy conventional temporality by introducing the house style both for the original genre of heavy metal, and for its descendant subgenre doom, concurrently.

And this brings us back to that opening track. Though the inside of the gatefold is indeed an upside-down cross, Ozzy is predominantly seen wearing his the right way up: the fear, the horror, the dark premonitions are all in many ways the church’s own. Nevertheless, the figure of Satan throughout Black Sabbath’s work is compellingly inconsistent, at times acting as dark tempter of souls, pitiless judge of hawkish capitalists, and looming harbinger of unknown yet surely awful fates. Indeed, Satan’s multivalence is as such that all things in the world may be definable in relation to Satan, including and especially God, who exists less as a presence, but as a name, cried in vain at the sight of the demonic, and seemingly very real, figure in black.

An alternative to the pantheistic understanding of God as residing within all things, the chilly – if suspiciously sweet-smelling – world of Black Sabbath’s Black Sabbath is one of pandemonium. Though we may rebel, our battle cry is one of terror, horror, and dread.


Big black shape with eyes of fire
Telling people their desire
Satan’s sitting there, he’s smiling
Watches those flames get higher and higher
Oh no, no, please God help me!


Album of the Day: Body Void – I Live Inside a Burning House