Rating:
9.0
Emptiness - Nothing But The Whole
27 May 2014


01. Go And Hope
02. Nothing But The Whole
03. Behind The Curtain
04. All Is Known
05. Tale Of A Burning Man
06. The Past Is Death
07. Lowland


There's been a lot of blackened death craziness being served up lately in our beloved metal genre. Within the past two years especially, it seems like the style has been seeing a return to form of sorts, with the likes of Bölzer, Teitanblood, Diocletian and others dishing out albums that are pleasantly old school, yet with a delicious modern twist. Of all these bands, however, it is probably Belgium's Emptiness who stand as the most immersing and emotive of them all. Their 2014 album encapsulates this idea perhaps better than ever before, and is nothing short of excellent.

I've always been of the opinion that blackened death is at its best when combining the brutality of death metal with the all-encompassing, often trance like nature of black metal, something that seems to actually be an uncommon formula among many of its bands. Emptiness have taken to this approach somewhat in the past, but Nothing But The Whole feels as though it has finally blossomed in full, with quite splendid results. The atmospheric nature of opener "Go And Hope" sets this mood immediately, making it quite clear that with their fourth full length, Emptiness have evolved into a much more sophisticated songwriting, something far beyond the typical raging nature of the style from which they come.

At many points this heightened sense of atmosphere, as well as the more moderate pacing of tempo that comes with it, makes Nothing But The Whole feel more black than death, especially on "All Is Known" and "Tale Of A Burning Man." However, this can be a bit misleading, because throughout the album Emptiness also flirt around with crunchy riff delivery, drum patterns, and a particular style of guitar leads that all bear an unquestionable death metal influence, such as on "The Past Is Death." This is quite an interesting compositional structure, as it challenges listeners to rethink the blackened death style, and proves to us that there are many influences a band can take from death metal besides pure speed. The production on Nothing But The Whole is nothing short of superior as well: crisp and enveloping, and with an amazing bass that gets plenty of room to rumble along on its own during some of the more relaxed passages.

Furthermore, Nothing But The Whole is nothing short of a mature, engaging album, and could quite likely be the best of the band's career thus far. With their fourth release, Emptiness have put down some of the brutal cliches of extreme metal and are focusing more on how to channel the particular "feels" of both black and death metal into a single, quite astounding whole (and nothing but!). The only complaint I find myself having with this album is that it's good to the point of possibly being unable to be matched in the future, and when that's your only displeasure with a release, you know you've found a gem.

Surrender to the whole.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 10


Band profile: Emptiness
Album: Nothing But The Whole


 



Written on 18.06.2014 by
Apothecary
Your friend the witch doctor.
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mz - 18.06.2014 at 19:40  
Just was listening to this album again today. Damn this is so excellent, and it came out of the blue for me.
But, tbh, I wouldn't call it blackend death metal. Not sure how to classify this album but it's not blackend death on my ears. Hell it's not even that much black metal.
Moreover, Diocletian is death metal, not blackend death =p
Apothecary - 18.06.2014 at 20:02  
Written by mz on 18.06.2014 at 19:40

Just was listening to this album again today. Damn this is so excellent, and it came out of the blue for me.
But, tbh, I wouldn't call it blackend death metal. Not sure how to classify this album but it's not blackend death on my ears. Hell it's not even that much black metal.
Moreover, Diocletian is death metal, not blackend death =p

Yep, Joe turned me onto this, and it's quite superb indeed. Their past albums were definitely blackened death, but I think for this one in particular the BM aesthetic is much higher than before, so it's perhaps more appropriate to call it death black metal? Indeed, it is a bit difficult to label. And I hear some black in the new Diocletian album personally, maybe it's just me
Skyum - 18.06.2014 at 20:02  
This sounds nothing short of interesting.
mz - 18.06.2014 at 20:35  
Written by Apothecary on 18.06.2014 at 20:02

Yep, Joe turned me onto this, and it's quite superb indeed. Their past albums were definitely blackened death, but I think for this one in particular the BM aesthetic is much higher than before, so it's perhaps more appropriate to call it death black metal? Indeed, it is a bit difficult to label. And I hear some black in the new Diocletian album personally, maybe it's just me


Agreed, to some extent. It's similar to lurker of chalice: it has black metal sprite but not really that much of black metal elements are presented. Calling it black metal would be just a useful convention I think.
Regarding Diocletian , well I just heard a little of their new album and in fact, I totally had forgotten that they have something new but I've seen people calling their previous albums blackend death, which is wrong in my humble opinion
Ag Fox - 18.06.2014 at 21:02  
Written by Apothecary on 18.06.2014 at 20:02

Written by mz on 18.06.2014 at 19:40

Just was listening to this album again today. Damn this is so excellent, and it came out of the blue for me.
But, tbh, I wouldn't call it blackend death metal. Not sure how to classify this album but it's not blackend death on my ears. Hell it's not even that much black metal.
Moreover, Diocletian is death metal, not blackend death =p

Yep, Joe turned me onto this, and it's quite superb indeed. Their past albums were definitely blackened death, but I think for this one in particular the BM aesthetic is much higher than before, so it's perhaps more appropriate to call it death black metal? Indeed, it is a bit difficult to label. And I hear some black in the new Diocletian album personally, maybe it's just me
I was (or I should say, still am) a big fan of their previous one. You should check it out too (=
Apothecary - 18.06.2014 at 21:03  
Written by mz on 18.06.2014 at 20:35

Agreed, to some extent. It's similar to lurker of chalice: it has black metal sprite but not really that much of black metal elements are presented. Calling it black metal would be just a useful convention I think.
Regarding Diocletian , well I just heard a little of their new album and in fact, I totally had forgotten that they have something new but I've seen people calling their previous albums blackend death, which is wrong in my humble opinion

Yep... should be fun to see where this one gets nominated in the MSA for this year
As for Diocletian.... might just be my ears, but I hear some good BM influence in this especially.
Apothecary - 18.06.2014 at 21:06  
Written by Ag Fox on 18.06.2014 at 21:02

I was (or I should say, still am) a big fan of their previous one. You should check it out too (=

I've peeked at Error and a little bit of the debut, need to listen more in full. I like what I hear so far though, even if it's not up to par with this one.
Diverge - 19.06.2014 at 00:47  
Written by mz on 18.06.2014 at 20:35

Written by Apothecary on 18.06.2014 at 20:02

Yep, Joe turned me onto this, and it's quite superb indeed. Their past albums were definitely blackened death, but I think for this one in particular the BM aesthetic is much higher than before, so it's perhaps more appropriate to call it death black metal? Indeed, it is a bit difficult to label. And I hear some black in the new Diocletian album personally, maybe it's just me


Agreed, to some extent. It's similar to lurker of chalice: it has black metal sprite but not really that much of black metal elements are presented. Calling it black metal would be just a useful convention I think.
Regarding Diocletian , well I just heard a little of their new album and in fact, I totally had forgotten that they have something new but I've seen people calling their previous albums blackend death, which is wrong in my humble opinion

Lurker of Chalice? Not so sure about that one, man.
mz - 19.06.2014 at 00:53  
Written by Diverge on 19.06.2014 at 00:47

Lurker of Chalice? Not so sure about that one, man.

LoC does not have many typical black metal parts I think. Compare it to Leviathan , for example.
Mr. Doctor - 19.06.2014 at 14:14  
Written by Ag Fox on 18.06.2014 at 21:02
I was (or I should say, still am) a big fan of their previous one. You should check it out too (=

Same here. Error was very overlooked while it was in my opinion a clear nominee-material for the previous awards.
-Morbid- - 19.06.2014 at 14:54  
I just got Error a little while back, and it hasn't really... "sunk in" yet or something, but I find it very intriguing and it grows on me more every time I listen to it.

I've been putting off listening to this one on the Bandcamp because I know that I'm going to order a physical copy of it at some point, but it's still good to see positive reviews for it.
Apothecary - 19.06.2014 at 16:37  
Written by mz on 19.06.2014 at 00:53

LoC does not have many typical black metal parts I think. Compare it to Leviathan , for example.

It does, but I think the key word in that sentence is "typical." The project is focused more on the atmospheric and trancelike nature of black metal, rather than its relentless and crushing side, much like this album.
Ag Fox - 19.06.2014 at 17:13  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 19.06.2014 at 14:14

Written by Ag Fox on 18.06.2014 at 21:02
I was (or I should say, still am) a big fan of their previous one. You should check it out too (=

Same here. Error was very overlooked while it was in my opinion a clear nominee-material for the previous awards.
Happy that you agree with me. I am looking forward to checking the new one out! (=
Diverge - 20.06.2014 at 04:58  
Written by Apothecary on 19.06.2014 at 16:37

Written by mz on 19.06.2014 at 00:53

LoC does not have many typical black metal parts I think. Compare it to Leviathan , for example.

It does, but I think the key word in that sentence is "typical." The project is focused more on the atmospheric and trancelike nature of black metal, rather than its relentless and crushing side, much like this album.

Yeah, that's what I was (very inadequately) trying to get at.
Boxcar Willy - 22.06.2014 at 21:18  
Vocals are a huge turn off. I didn't like the production either.
Apothecary - 22.06.2014 at 21:36  
Written by Boxcar Willy on 22.06.2014 at 21:18

Vocals are a huge turn off. I didn't like the production either.

Tanner, plz
Boxcar Willy - 22.06.2014 at 21:53  
Written by Apothecary on 22.06.2014 at 21:36

Tanner, plz

Bah, Teitanblood and Abyssal pretty much have my full attention within the genre. The sort of cloaked in dust style blackened death is my favourite.
Apothecary - 22.06.2014 at 22:35  
Written by Boxcar Willy on 22.06.2014 at 21:53

Teitanblood and Abyssal pretty much have my full attention within the genre. The sort of cloaked in dust style blackened death is my favourite.

Teitanblood are indeed quite good, both the debut and their recent album. Haven't heard of Abyssal though
Mr. Doctor - 23.06.2014 at 00:06  
Within the genre? Are they really similar at all? They might fall under the blackened death tag but they are still miles away.
mz - 23.06.2014 at 00:38  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 23.06.2014 at 00:06

Within the genre? Are they really similar at all? They might fall under the blackened death tag but they are still miles away.

that's what I was thinking, too. Seriously, what do TB and abyssal have to do with this one?
mz - 23.06.2014 at 00:40  
Written by Apothecary on 22.06.2014 at 22:35

Haven't heard of Abyssal though

Check it ASAP. My 2nd most favorite DM record of 2013, after ulcerate.
Apothecary - 23.06.2014 at 01:12  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 23.06.2014 at 00:06

Within the genre? Are they really similar at all? They might fall under the blackened death tag but they are still miles away.

Doesn't mean they don't still generally fall within that category, even if they considerably deviate from its conventions. It's like Voivod, for example. Do they sound like Exodus, Kreator, Sodom, etc? Not really. But are they still thrash? Yes.
Mr. Doctor - 23.06.2014 at 01:18  
Written by Apothecary on 23.06.2014 at 01:12
Doesn't mean they don't still generally fall within that category, even if they considerably deviate from its conventions. It's like Voivod, for example. Do they sound like Exodus, Kreator, Sodom, etc? Not really. But are they still thrash? Yes.


Yeah I know, my comment was an answer to Tanner since I wouldn't drop names like Taitanblood or Abyssmal at all even if they are in the same category.
Boxcar Willy - 24.06.2014 at 03:37  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 23.06.2014 at 01:18

Yeah I know, my comment was an answer to Tanner since I wouldn't drop names like Taitanblood or Abyssmal at all even if they are in the same category.

Same genre, they just do it much better than this band. Relevant enough.
Mr. Doctor - 24.06.2014 at 13:14  
Written by Boxcar Willy on 24.06.2014 at 03:37

Written by Mr. Doctor on 23.06.2014 at 01:18

Yeah I know, my comment was an answer to Tanner since I wouldn't drop names like Taitanblood or Abyssmal at all even if they are in the same category.

Same genre, they just do it much better than this band. Relevant enough.

Just barely. Same genre but completely different sound, purpose, songwriting, etc, etc.
I think Ulcerate does it much better than Suffocation. Pfff, I mean same genre, same shit, right?
Lit. - 25.06.2014 at 02:16  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 24.06.2014 at 13:14

I think Ulcerate does it much better than Suffocation. Pfff, I mean same genre, same shit, right?

Bad example, cause that's kinda true regardless of genre.
Mr. Doctor - 25.06.2014 at 02:18  
Written by Lit. on 25.06.2014 at 02:16

Written by Mr. Doctor on 24.06.2014 at 13:14

I think Ulcerate does it much better than Suffocation. Pfff, I mean same genre, same shit, right?

Bad example, cause that's kinda true.

I thought we were bras mah nizzle... You outta support me here or gtfo.
Lit. - 25.06.2014 at 02:23  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 25.06.2014 at 02:18

I thought we were bras mah nizzle... You outta support me here or gtfo.

I'm not saying Suffocation are bad, oh no (and I'm not just saying to avoid sleeping on the couch). I never understood that whole "can't compare cause of different genres" thing. One band's gotta be better than another, right?
And I'm saying Ulcerate's better anyway. Figured I'd at least get points for that.
samarium - 22.07.2014 at 17:13  
I've been a fan of these guys since i randomly saw them in Belgium 4 years ago. But I can't find this album for sale in Canada anywhere! Not on itunes, amazon is $20+. Not in stores.
Mary N. - 19.11.2014 at 14:30  
I feel that EMPTINESS is far spectacular than Bolzer, just saying, not sure.
Apothecary - 19.11.2014 at 15:56  
Written by Mary N. on 19.11.2014 at 14:30

I feel that EMPTINESS is far spectacular than Bolzer, just saying, not sure.

I agree too, but that may just be because at the moment Emptiness has more material to judge by
Mary N. - 19.11.2014 at 16:34  
Written by Apothecary on 19.11.2014 at 15:56

I agree too, but that may just be because at the moment Emptiness has more material to judge by

Probably, but for now I think the level of creativity in EMPTINESS sound is not comparable with Bolzer. :/

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