We featured the title track from Emptiness’ Nothing But The Whole in last month’s Black Market, and as Doug wrote about it there: “[S]tubbornly cyclic black/death metal stomps still anchor the songs, but they’re tricked out with an array of ethereal production touches and druggy vocal washes that are just as engrossing as the more physical side of the music. In fact, they might be the real center of attention. ’Dreamlike’ is an overused metaphor among music writers, but unlike the vast majority of stuff in this vein, Nothing But The Whole absolutely merits it.”
I agree completely with that assessment. Emptiness are a Belgian band, two of whose members (Jeremy “Phorgath” Bézier and Olivier “Neerath” Lomer) also play in the long-running black metal band Enthroned. There’s a sort of weird irony there: Enthroned are hugely successful but sort of generic, while Emptiness are essentially unknown but totally unique. Nothing But The Whole is the band’s fourth LP, and it certainly deserves to be their breakthrough. As Doug said, this is indeed dreamlike music: slippery, shifting, averse to patterns and logic, discomfiting, even frightening. And while lots of bands dabble in such hallucinatory sounds, few commit to it as fully as Emptiness do here, and fewer still succeed so completely. (I know you’re not supposed to judge books or albums by their covers, but the cover of Nothing But The Whole is an unusually accurate visual portrayal of the the songs contained therein.) Like Morbus Chron’s recent masterpiece, Sweven — but even more so, actually — Nothing But The Whole isn’t just surrealistic music, it’s music that provides for the listener a surrealistic experience. We have the whole album for you to stream today, so you should find a dark space and a free hour, put on headphones, and drift.
Nothing But The Whole is out 5/27 via Dark Descent.