Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Catching up with 2014: Emptiness ' "Nothing But the Whole"

This is the fourth album these former members of Enthroned have created. It is fill with some of the  creepiest  darkest  metal i have heard in recent memory, and I digest at least twenty new albums a week, so my "feelers" are out for this sort of thing. The opener has a great ritualistic feel to it. The vocals start off as a low hollow gurgle. There are definitely elements of dsbm at work here  and some beautifully depressing guitar tones that sob into your soul. It is one of those album that when it starts off I found myself asking where have these guys been all year. They have a pretty wide range the opening riff to the title track would not be out of place on a Enslaved record. They keep things at a much more deliberate pace as the vocals seem to be most comfortable as this grim narrative. So they hold the blast beats at bay for as long as they can. I have been looking for something like this ever since Shining wussed out and went cock rock.

They take a more staccato attack on "Behind the Curtain". The guitar taking a tighter almost Emperor like groove. The vocals stay in their well place gurgle of a growl, almost like Carcass in some place, though with much darker intent. There is some really exotic guitar work that starts off "All is Known". This segues into a weird bridge passage that sounds almost sampled. There is a prog under current to the way these guys put songs together.

This album is an odd creature as it has way more groove than any kind of black metal this side of Satyricon, yet the grooves are never over done thanks to ex-Pro-pain drummer Jonas Sanders. The guitars work together well, not shying from solo passages , but not for the sake of flash. "Tale of a Burning Man" has a stiffer almost industrial pound to it. They spiral out of this into almost a blast beat, but build on the same migraine inducing pattern. They gathered some interesting sounds on this one, but compared to the other songs, it is lacking.

"The Past is Death" finds them back in their gloomy goodness.The hammer at you, with the oddness of  Blut Aus Nord back in there more experimental days on "Lowland". This too gives way to melodic guitar sweeping up into more angular acrobatics. They know how to be dissonant in the most melodic way possible. The only complaint about this album is it's seven songs only amount to forty minutes and now I am going to have to track down their entire discography in hopes that it is all this good. I have obviously been underestimating Belgian metal. I went right back to the first song once this album ended. Of course this one is a 10, it's going to be one of the best albums that you missed out on this year if you don't click below. Wow.

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