Release Date: 30/10/2020
Country: United States/Canada
Let’s stater the weekend by taking a look at something a bit more ethereal, in the form of Empty…’s latest EP Nihilism which was independently released on October 30th.
Empty… is a two-man project, playing a unique blend of atmospheric black metal and dark ambient that heavily features piano. Their style is something that fans of Coldworld, Leviathan and Xasthur would enjoy. Of the duo, one contributor is located in Canada and the other in the USA, making this an international project. You can find their profiles here and here. While both musicians have other projects that they work on, under this project they have released several singles, but this is their debut EP.
The release features 6 tracks and comes in at a total length of 26:37, making it a decent length EP. We open with Abstract Memories of a Decaying Mind. You immediately realize why the band is classified as atmospheric. Right away you’re hit with meandering piano, accompanied by slow, low volume guitar and synth. The vocals are croaky and hazy and echo through the mix, seeming almost like in instrument rather than vocals. The tempo and passion of the piano rises and falls throughout the track but everything else remains relatively level. It’s a solid opener to the EP and sets the tone for the rest of the release.
Track 2 Scattered Fragments of an Anguished Soul immediately features more rawness to the instrumentals. The guitar has more of a raw and menacing black metal tone to it, the drums are heavier in the mix and the piano is less melodic. The vocals are also on the rawer side, they’re less ethereal and cracklier. They are also higher in the mix, making them the focus point of the track, whereas in the opener the piano was definitely the focus. We also get a bit more variety and range in the vocals on this one, with the same crackling croaky vocals from track one, as well as a deeper, more guttural style, the two working well in tandem together.
Track 3 Nihilism. is the EP’s title track and things change again on this one. The track is very much a dark ambient/instrumental song. We get distorted instrumentation and brooding atmosphere from start to finish.
Track 4 The Path of Mental Dissonance is another dark ambient/instrumental track. This time going far heavier on the synth and effects. There’s an overall sense of epicness and awe to the track that makes you think of the EP’s album art.
Track 5 Eternal Scream brings us back to the atmospheric black metal side of the album. The music is still highly atmospheric in nature, with the guitar tone remaining relatively peaceful, while the drums on the other hand are a bit more frantic. The vocals on the track are shrill and harsh and are less faded than track 1. The guitar does however become more menacing and pick up pace around the 2-minute mark.
The 6th and final track on the album Tormentum Iniquitatis again shift us back to dark ambient/instrumental work and closes the album on a brooding note. The song features heavily distorted instrumental much like track 3 and works well to maintain, as well as wrap up the overall tone of the EP.
Overall, this is a solid first EP from Empty… the band seem to have a lot of different ideas going on and this is both a good and a bad thing. Its good in the sense that it gives their music a lot of variety and makes for an interesting listen, as well as presenting opportunities to take the project in a number of directions. It could be seen as bad in that it can come across as a little disjointed switching back and forth between genres and styles track to track. Personally, I have no issue with it, I found that it kept things interesting, but I am just aware that it’s an opinion that some out there will have. Personally, I would like to see what direction the project takes, because the music presented was truly enjoyable and I see a lot of potential for the project. So, take some time out of your day and give it a listen!
Listen to the full album below:
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