Emptiness – Not for Music (Season of Mist)

Tuesday, 24th January 2017
Rating: 8/10

There are no extra scene points awarded for being weird. If that were the case, then outfits like Arcturus, Solefald, and Vulture Industries would be atop the metal heap, while so-called “regular” bands would need to jostle for recognition. This hasn’t exactly been the case for Belgium’s Emptiness, who enjoyed a semi-breakout in 2014 with Nothing but the Whole. Aside from its disturbing cover art, the band managed to create an entirely fresh tapestry of eeriness, balanced with a relative degree of simplicity. On Not for Music (what a title!), Emptiness have further defined their role as bastions of the uncanny.

Even more removed from their spiraling death metal origins than before (lest we forget the band has two members of Belgium black metal force Enthroned in its ranks), Emptiness have managed to put together an otherworldly, uncomfortable album that feels…comfortable. The unnatural drone of “Meat Heart,” “Circle Girl” and most notably, “Your Skin Won’t Hide You” feel as if they were conjured up from another dimension. The latter in particular, which hurls a murky, alien sparse-note melody throughout its core. It’s like your straddling Mars while stuck in The Twilight Zone at once.

Not for Music was produced by current Marilyn Manson bass player Jeordie White (stage name: Twiggy Ramirez), and engineered by Sean Beavan of Nine inch Nails fame, which is essentially alternative rock royalty, if you will. While there is no reprieve from the unconventional throughout Not for Music, the comfort is knowing these songs will continue to stick and haunt well after their initial airing.

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