Emptiness - Not For Music review




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Reviewer:
7.5

78 users:
7.82
Band: Emptiness
Album: Not For Music
Release date: January 2017


01. Meat Heart
02. It Might Be
03. Circle Girl
04. Your Skin Won't Hide You
05. Digging The Sky
06. Ever
07. Let It Fall


In 2014, the Belgians in Emptiness threw out Nothing But The Whole, a thundering album of black and death metal that combined the two quite seamlessly, with a delicious sense of atmosphere to boot. Being almost universally praised in underground metal circles, how exactly does the band follow up such a powerhouse release? Easy: by going for something different.

For Emptiness, Not For Music is a significant shift into new territory, essentially being what happens when some of the slower, more atmospheric moments from Nothing But The Whole (especially on Lowland) are expanded upon into a full fledged album. Here Emptiness have gone much, much deeper with this aspect of their sound, resulting in music that can be a bit puzzling, and difficult to pinpoint with an exact label. The sound feels quite deconstructed and airy, mostly via the guitar tone, not seeming to be driven by riffs but more by a sort of distorted, dissonant harmony. A black metal influence can also be detected, albeit in a very subtle form, serving more as an embellishment upon the minimalistic, spacious nature of the sound than anything else.

This new approach comes in varying degrees of success. For the most part it comes across as quite immersive, stimulating, and interesting, particularly with regard to the increased bass role ("It Might Be"), moments of unexpected catchiness ("Your Skin Won't Hide You," "Ever"), and a wide use of mysterious, whisper-like vocals ("Digging The Sky"). At other moments, the "deconstructed" feeling of this new approach can make things appear either too formless to really get into ("Circle Girl") or as though too many techniques were combined at once, as on the chaotic and unfortunately weak closer "Let It Fall." Thankfully, however, although it could use some refining, there are many more moments in the former group on Not For Music than in the latter, making the few upsets appear rather minor when the album is considered as a whole.

For those who wished to see the more "epic" moments from Nothing But The Whole taken to the proverbial "next level," Not For Music will probably be a quite enjoyable and rewarding listening experience. It is not a banger by any means, and abandons much of the ferocity the band employed previously in favor of exploring mood and ambiance. Here Emptiness certainly could have continued in the vein of their landmark album, and cranked out more banging tunes, but they didn't. They threw a major curve ball instead. And whether one enjoys that curve ball or not, I think the band should at the very least be applauded for their clear devotion to artistic evolution, written in bold letters all across this album.

New recipe, new rules, new taste.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 9
Production: 8


 



Written on 24.01.2017 by Comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable since 2013.


Comments

Comments: 22   Visited by: 235 users
24.01.2017 - 16:45
mz
I disagree that this is relying more on ambiance. It is a more riff driven album I would say, at least on a couple of tracks, and that is the problem. All in all, it is a really inconsistent album: some of the tracks really do match the brilliance of NbtW, but some other are weak.
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Giving my ears a rest from music.
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24.01.2017 - 16:52
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Written by mz on 24.01.2017 at 16:45

I disagree that this is relying more on ambiance. It is a more riff driven album I would say, at least on a couple of tracks, and that is the problem.


Nope, I agree with Che that the album relies a lot more on ambiance and a lot less on riffs. Okay, some riffs are employed but by far not as much as on Nothing But The Whole.
The album also clearly steers away from metal and explores more territories of darkwave and such.
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Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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24.01.2017 - 18:22
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by mz on 24.01.2017 at 16:45

I disagree that this is relying more on ambiance. It is a more riff driven album I would say, at least on a couple of tracks, and that is the problem

Not really, I mean there are a few main riffs and melodies shown a little on It Might Be, and especially on Your Skin Won't Hide you, but other than that the approach variates a lot and for the most part I would say it's a lot more structure-less than NBTW. It's centered more around exploring tonal quality and an almost free form style. Nothing from this album is really like this anymore, for example.
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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24.01.2017 - 18:25
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 24.01.2017 at 16:52

The album also clearly steers away from metal and explores more territories of darkwave and such.

Yeah I'm not really sure you can even call it metal anymore, although it certainly does still have a few heavy moments and that underlying BM influence I mentioned is still there. But darkwave influence for sure, and I've seen reviews elsewhere mentioning it sounds kind of post punk-ish at points too (not too familiar with that though, so can't really comment there).
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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25.01.2017 - 02:21
barnesy
I've really enjoyed this one.
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25.01.2017 - 07:32
flightoficarus
Stamp Tramp
You're high. This is a masterpiece. To each his own though.
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Daily underground metal recommendations at Metal Trenches.
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25.01.2017 - 13:37
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by flightoficarus on 25.01.2017 at 07:32

You're high. This is a masterpiece. To each his own though.

It's not like I gave it a 5 dude
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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25.01.2017 - 13:44
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Written by Apothecary on 25.01.2017 at 13:37

Written by flightoficarus on 25.01.2017 at 07:32

You're high. This is a masterpiece. To each his own though.

It's not like I gave it a 5 dude



But you gave it an 8 on average and you know what that means to MSers... that you think it is crap
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Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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25.01.2017 - 14:08
InnerSelf
proofread free
Quote:
Not For Music will probably be a quite enjoyable and rewarding listening experience. It is not a banger by any means, and abandons much of the ferocity the band employed previously in favor of exploring mood and ambiance.


I like how you always seem to describe the essence of an album in one sentence.
I'm on the side of people highly enjoying it, not for the same reasons I enjoyed Nothing But the Whole, but I'm equally impressed by it.
It seems to give me some Virus vibes at times, in how the whole thing feels unsettling yet really really catchy.
The replay value for the album is pretty high as well.
----
He who is not bold enough
to be stared at from across the abyss
is not bold enough
to stare into it himself.
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25.01.2017 - 15:50
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by InnerSelf on 25.01.2017 at 14:08

I like how you always seem to describe the essence of an album in one sentence.
I'm on the side of people highly enjoying it, not for the same reasons I enjoyed Nothing But the Whole, but I'm equally impressed by it. It seems to give me some Virus vibes at times, in how the whole thing feels unsettling yet really really catchy. The replay value for the album is pretty high as well.

Thanks a lot man!
I can see the VIrus comparison, not in sound necessarily, but like you said, in how it's very odd yet very memorable as well. Not many bands can do that, which is another reason for admiration here. It's also very relaxing at times, I actually put it on that "2017 Incantations" list of mine the other night. Might seem like an odd pick for it but after multiple plays I find myself often just falling back in this and getting that "lazy floating" feeling quite a lot.
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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25.01.2017 - 20:37
mz
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 24.01.2017 at 16:52

Written by mz on 24.01.2017 at 16:45

I disagree that this is relying more on ambiance. It is a more riff driven album I would say, at least on a couple of tracks, and that is the problem.


Nope, I agree with Che that the album relies a lot more on ambiance and a lot less on riffs. Okay, some riffs are employed but by far not as much as on Nothing But The Whole.
The album also clearly steers away from metal and explores more territories of darkwave and such.

I guess non of the songs on NBtW had a riff as metallic as the one on Let it Fall.
I guess I might be exagerating. I did want them to go towards a less metal approach with more emphasize on mood and atmosphere. I am just disappointed that they did not employ this for all of the songs. The first two are just mind blowing and amazing, but there are a couple of fillers,if I dare. It is like they partially lost the flow on this album. Could just trim a bit and make a shorter, fantastic record.
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Giving my ears a rest from music.
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26.01.2017 - 00:29
HaralambossHorn
I found it really refreshing for the black metal genre. Their previous one nbtw was great but more straightforward. ANyway, I still expect metal storm's take on Furia and Hail Spirit Noir. Furia's latest was very much hyped and I think it deserved it.
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26.01.2017 - 01:25
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by mz on 25.01.2017 at 20:37

I did want them to go towards a less metal approach with more emphasize on mood and atmosphere. I am just disappointed that they did not employ this for all of the songs. The first two are just mind blowing and amazing, but there are a couple of fillers,if I dare. It is like they partially lost the flow on this album. Could just trim a bit and make a shorter, fantastic record.

It's interesting how peoples' tastes variate, I too really love the first two tracks here, but Digging The Sky is probably my favorite. Meanwhile, you might consider that to be one of the "fillers" you mentioned
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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26.01.2017 - 20:46
flightoficarus
Stamp Tramp
Written by Apothecary on 25.01.2017 at 13:37

Written by flightoficarus on 25.01.2017 at 07:32

You're high. This is a masterpiece. To each his own though.

It's not like I gave it a 5 dude


lol I know, but even thinking of this album as just "average" or "good" for me personally is heresy. Especially considering the review right before this one gives Avenged Sevenfold an 8. Whaaaaa?
----
Daily underground metal recommendations at Metal Trenches.
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26.01.2017 - 20:50
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by flightoficarus on 26.01.2017 at 20:46

...the review right before this one gives Avenged Sevenfold an 8. Whaaaaa?

I claim no responsibility on that one
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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26.01.2017 - 21:24
metalwolf
Somehow it made me think of Wolves in the Throne Room...
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----------------------------------------------------------
Cthulhu for President! Why settle for the lesser evil?
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28.01.2017 - 22:39
BitterCOld
Gringo
Written by Apothecary on 24.01.2017 at 18:25

Yeah I'm not really sure you can even call it metal anymore, although it certainly does still have a few heavy moments and that underlying BM influence I mentioned is still there. But darkwave influence for sure, and I've seen reviews elsewhere mentioning it sounds kind of post punk-ish at points too (not too familiar with that though, so can't really comment there).


Feeling a bit of this on first (sleep-deprived) listen through. enjoyed it, but has moved a nice big side-step away from \m/ ...

nice work on the words.
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get the fuck off my lawn.
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29.01.2017 - 18:32
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 25.01.2017 at 13:44

Written by Apothecary on 25.01.2017 at 13:37

Written by flightoficarus on 25.01.2017 at 07:32

You're high. This is a masterpiece. To each his own though.

It's not like I gave it a 5 dude



But you gave it an 8 on average and you know what that means to MSers... that you think it is crap


Maybe the reason is that there are reviewers who "discover" a "masterpiece" and give it a 9 nearly every week, so a 7.5 is considered crap. Anyway, great review this one (as always by Apothecary, even when our tastes don't match) and exactly the score I'd give (but I can't, so I'll need more time to decide if it's a 7 or 8). I was listening to it yesterday driving through snowy landscapes around dusk and I have to say it was a very nice soundtrack.
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on and on south of heaven

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30.01.2017 - 23:53
tea[m]ster
Au Pays Natal
Che - wtf am I listening to? I'm on track 3 as I write this. So far I here electronics, atmospheric "metal" and an overall "old-school" vibe. This is as avantgarde as I get. But for some reason I dig it. The reason? You nailed it: the guitar tone/texture. Excellent review and thanks.
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rekt
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31.01.2017 - 01:15
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by tea[m]ster on 30.01.2017 at 23:53

Che - wtf am I listening to? I'm on track 3 as I write this. So far I here electronics, atmospheric "metal" and an overall "old-school" vibe. This is as avantgarde as I get. But for some reason I dig it. The reason? You nailed it: the guitar tone/texture. Excellent review and thanks.

Glad you're enjoying it man. I wouldn't necessarily call it Avant-garde, but it definitely is "different," for sure, and highly enjoyable at that. And yes, that guitar tone! Really curious as to what sort of pedals/effects they're using there, as I haven't really haven't heard such a sound anywhere else before, and if I have I can't remember where from off the top of my head
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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06.02.2017 - 04:39
Desert Father
This really reminds me of Blut Aus Nord's TEoAM.
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"Truly, my child, if I were allowed to see my sins, three or four men would not be enough to weep
for them." - Abba Dioscorus
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06.02.2017 - 04:42
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by Desert Father on 06.02.2017 at 04:39

This really reminds me of Blut Aus Nord's TEoAM.

I wouldn't say so, that one's a lot darker and industrialized, while this one is more airy, bright, and almost uplifting at points as well. I get the similarity you draw though, in that both albums seem to explore tonal quality itself over melody and traditional structure.
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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