Urfaust - Empty Space Meditation review




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Reviewer:
8.5

55 users:
7.82
Band: Urfaust
Album: Empty Space Meditation
Release date: October 2016


01. Meditatum I
02. Meditatum II
03. Meditatum III
04. Meditatum IV
05. Meditatum V
06. Meditatum VI


It's that time of the year again. Leaves are dying. Days are getting shorter. The line between the living and the dead grows thinner. And few can provide a better, more fitting soundtrack for this shadowy, ethereal atmosphere than the mighty Urfaust.

If you were to make a list of some of the most unusual or experimentally-inclined black metal bands out there, Urfaust would probably have to be on it somewhere. Having achieved notoriety in underground circles for their peculiar brand of midtempo, operatic black metal, dominated by clean vocals as opposed to the traditional shrieks, this year's Empty Space Meditation sees the Dutch duo embracing some considerably different approaches. Listeners are plunged into new territory immediately after the opening intro track with "Meditatum II," which (for the first time?) sees Urfaust utilizing blast beats in a more furious, upbeat approach. This feels very strange at first for a band that's thus far stuck almost entirely to the more atmospheric side of black metal, but repeated listens cement the impression that this change of pace still unquestionably has Urfaust written all over it.

The real way in which Empty Space Meditation feels different however has less to do with tempo and more with overall songwriting structure. This album is focused a lot less on melody and actual riffs than previously, and the music thus takes more of a repetitive, almost monotonous approach at many points throughout (see Meditatums III and IV in particular). At times this can make the music feel less catchy and memorable, especially when compared to some earlier cuts from albums like Verräterischer, Nichtswürdiger Geist and Der Freiwillige Bettler. But as with the example of "Meditatum II," this shift still doesn't seem to compromise the overall aesthetic of the band in any way; the "Urfaust spirit" is still alive, present, and effective. And in a way, making the music more droning and ritualistic in such a way fits splendidly with the album's title. Indeed, this is ideal music for falling back and zoning out to in silent meditation.

After a few splits and a somewhat unimpressive ambient EP, Urfaust have returned in strength with Empty Space Meditation, perhaps not necessarily in the way that many were expecting, but in strength nonetheless. Being able to make their music more aggressive as well as more meditative, these guys demonstrate both their commitment to evolution as well as their ability to retain their sense of identity while employing new techniques, both of which are worthy of nothing but admiration. Beware: this one might leave you slightly scratching your head at first, but it's a hell of a grower.


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


 



Written on 27.10.2016 by Comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable since 2013.


Comments

Comments: 16   Visited by: 412 users
27.10.2016 - 00:51
Ugwemubwem Ossas
China was a neat
Interested more after reading the review, more aggressive and more meditative at the same time, hellyeah. Didn't know this was gonna be out this week, will defo try to listen to it. And thats a fucking gorgeous cover art.
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27.10.2016 - 01:10
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by Ugwemubwem Ossas on 27.10.2016 at 00:51

Interested more after reading the review, more aggressive and more meditative at the same time, hellyeah. Didn't know this was gonna be out this week, will defo try to listen to it. And thats a fucking gorgeous cover art.

"More aggressive" might be a stretch, it's only that one track I mentioned that has the blasts in it... kinda makes you wish they had expanded upon that more, but interesting nonetheless. Overall this album gives me a real "Dark Urfaust Rising" vibe or something like that, if that makes sense. Almost as if the band had a drone doom baby, that's really how it feels with that more repetitive, minimalistic approach I'm talking about here. I think you'll dig it. And yes, GREAT cover art! Couldn't find the artist's exact name, but they have a "Thorny Thoughts Artwork & Tattoo" page on Facebook
----
Now who should I call? Should I call Mr. Strawberry?
No, I don't think I'll call Mr. Strawberry. I don't think he's taking calls.
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27.10.2016 - 01:20
Ugwemubwem Ossas
China was a neat
Not actually a "they" but looks like its a girl from Germany.

Haven't given this band the attention it deserves so far and just listened to that one live album Trúbadóirí Ólta an Diabhail that Joe suggested me but this review really intrigued me in a positive way.
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27.10.2016 - 01:28
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by Ugwemubwem Ossas on 27.10.2016 at 01:20

Not actually a "they" but looks like its a girl from Germany.

I just used "they" because I wasn't sure if it was a man or a woman. Welcome to 2016, hooray for safe spaces and not assuming gender
----
Now who should I call? Should I call Mr. Strawberry?
No, I don't think I'll call Mr. Strawberry. I don't think he's taking calls.
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27.10.2016 - 01:31
Karlabos
Weirdo of MS
Well there are games which refer to the player/main character as "they" just not to assume their gender, you could have used that excuse, yep...
----
2016 - 2017
2018 - 2019
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27.10.2016 - 01:52
MetalDoomMaster
I can't fucking wait for this. I just started listening to Urfaust this year but I can't get enough of their stuff.
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27.10.2016 - 02:10
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by MetalDoomMaster on 27.10.2016 at 01:52

I can't fucking wait for this. I just started listening to Urfaust this year but I can't get enough of their stuff.

Yeah, they hook you fast, don't they? Especially those vocals... won me over immediately with my first listen, I mean really, what else sounds like that?
----
Now who should I call? Should I call Mr. Strawberry?
No, I don't think I'll call Mr. Strawberry. I don't think he's taking calls.
Loading...
27.10.2016 - 02:31
Vombatus
Potorro
Can't fuckin' wait for my copy!!! Don't know what to expect as the teaser was really varied. The review makes it even harder to picture haha. But that's good.

Also, little trivia concerning blastbeats. Their latest stuff (ESM aside) is kinda fast including blastbeats, like the Ghoul collab or the second half of the track on the Lugubrum split. And there is always the classic Ildjarn cover:



Some crazy shit!
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27.10.2016 - 02:39
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by Vombatus on 27.10.2016 at 02:31

Little trivia concerning blastbeats. Their latest stuff (ESM aside) is kinda fast including blastbeats, like the Ghoul collab or the second half of the track on the Lugubrum split. And there is always the classic Ildjarn cover

Ah, I stand corrected then!
Sounds great, but still a bit strange to hear them taking that approach, when I more often than not just think of them as a "slow and trancelike" type BM band. Not strange in a bad way though
----
Now who should I call? Should I call Mr. Strawberry?
No, I don't think I'll call Mr. Strawberry. I don't think he's taking calls.
Loading...
27.10.2016 - 07:03
MetalDoomMaster
Written by Apothecary on 27.10.2016 at 02:10

Yeah, they hook you fast, don't they? Especially those vocals... won me over immediately with my first listen, I mean really, what else sounds like that?

I certainly can't think of anything. I really wish they would get more shirts in stock other than the one for the ambient album. This fan made video is fucking awesome to watch while listening to their music.



I don't know why, but that Ildjarn cover kinda makes me want to listen to Forest Poetry again. Might be the drunk talking...
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27.10.2016 - 09:09
Maratha
Always had the high for Urfaust, especially during ceremonial gatherings on weekends. Superb review man, will be waiting for this one. Let's see how it unfurls during a session of Ujjayi Pranayam.
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27.10.2016 - 10:58
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Written by Apothecary on 27.10.2016 at 01:28

Written by Ugwemubwem Ossas on 27.10.2016 at 01:20

Not actually a "they" but looks like its a girl from Germany.

I just used "they" because I wasn't sure if it was a man or a woman. Welcome to 2016, hooray for safe spaces and not assuming gender



I told you quite some time ago the artwork was done by Jim's girlfriend. So, you did know it was a girl. It seems you forgot.
----
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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27.10.2016 - 12:50
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by MetalDoomMaster on 27.10.2016 at 07:03

I really wish they would get more shirts in stock other than the one for the ambient album

Urfaust shirts are actually kinda strange and really just reinforce the peculiarity of the band because from what I understand they don't really sell universalized shirt designs that just anyone can buy anywhere, anytime. They make individualized shirt designs for each show they play. So you either see them live, get the shirt for that particular gig, or you don't. The shirt I got from their merch table at Roadburn last year even says "Roadburn Ritual 2015" on the back, they're very specific about it
----
Now who should I call? Should I call Mr. Strawberry?
No, I don't think I'll call Mr. Strawberry. I don't think he's taking calls.
Loading...
27.10.2016 - 12:51
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 27.10.2016 at 10:58

I told you quite some time ago the artwork was done by Jim's girlfriend. So, you did know it was a girl. It seems you forgot.

I guess I did, awesome connection though. By the way, if you've heard this already I'm actually really curious to know what you think of it, since I know you're a huge fan of the band, but as you don't really like drone music, my first impression would be that the more repetitive, almost riff-less approach here would just really bore you. Or I could be wrong?
----
Now who should I call? Should I call Mr. Strawberry?
No, I don't think I'll call Mr. Strawberry. I don't think he's taking calls.
Loading...
27.10.2016 - 12:58
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Written by Apothecary on 27.10.2016 at 12:51

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 27.10.2016 at 10:58

I told you quite some time ago the artwork was done by Jim's girlfriend. So, you did know it was a girl. It seems you forgot.

I guess I did, awesome connection though. By the way, if you've heard this already I'm actually really curious to know what you think of it, since I know you're a huge fan of the band, but as you don't really like drone music, my first impression would be that the more repetitive, almost riff-less approach here would just really bore you. Or I could be wrong?



I still haven't heard it. But i did enjoy 'Apparitions'. Will listen to it tomorrow. Been way to o busy listening to the 22 promos I had to review for the upcoming Lords Of Metal issue. But since those reviews have now been handed in I have time to listen to other stuff,
----
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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27.10.2016 - 21:00
Bad English
Masterchief
I like the intro, new ms news track are awesome, I did not like song titles
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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