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Void was one of the earliest bands to fuse hardcore punk and heavy metal in a way that was accepted by punk fans, and also the first band signed to Ian MacKaye’s Dischord label that wasn’t from Washington, D.C. (they hailed instead from suburban Columbia, Maryland). Their influence wasn’t as widespread as it might have been, thanks to an extremely limited recorded legacy that didn’t even include a proper full-length album. However, they enjoyed an enduring cult reputation among D.C. hardcore aficionados, and by most accounts their punk-metal fusion was highly effective — a ferocious, barely controlled chaos rife with tortured vocals and shrieking guitar feedback. Void’s live performances were notorious for descending into drunken mayhem, a rarity in the mostly straight-edge D.C. scene but one that perfectly mirrored their music. Unique too was their interracial lineup, formed in 1980 and composed of manic vocalist John Weiffenbach, guitarist Bubba Dupree, bassist Chris Stover, and drummer Sean Finnegan. Dupree was possessed of an innovative guitar style strongly reminiscent of Black Flag’s Greg Ginn, but with a feel for the more technical riffs common to heavy metal. Void’s volatility quickly found acceptance in the normally exclusive D.C. punk community. In 1981, they cut a demo tape titled Condensed Flesh, and made their vinyl debut early the next year with three songs on the Dischord label sampler Flex Your Head. The band went into the studio that spring and cut 12 songs — some of which had appeared on Condensed Flesh — that remained in the Dischord vaults for a time. Given the band’s unhinged sound and live shows, it was clear that they wouldn’t be able to hold together forever, and they disbanded in 1983. Dischord later paired their studio recordings with 12 more by the Faith and issued them as a split LP in 1985, which was later reissued on CD and introduced Void’s music to a new generation of Dischord fanatics. The Condensed Flesh demo was also released as an EP by Eye 95 Records in 1992. Bubba Dupree still carried a cult of admirers in the ‘90s, and found work as a guest guitarist gigging with the likes of Soundgarden and Moby; he also appeared on Dave Grohl’s Probot project in 2004. ~ Steve Huey