EMPTINESS are a very unique band. Their minimalist and grotesque style is disturbing, bizare, reduced and creepy as hell. This makes the band both discomforting and hard to describe. Is it metal? Not in the ordinary concept of the genre. But for sure it has many elements that are deeply rooted in (black) metal. Just to incorporate further elements from wave, ambient or industrial into their absurd and unique sound.
I really loved “Nothing But The Whole”, which was my first contact to the band to honest. But its reduced, disturbing yet hypnotic vibe caught from the very first moment. So I was curious, how EMPTINESS would develop on “Not For Music”. Although they made a consequent evolution, the first impression was surprising: The overall sound is more open, involves some wider harmonies and soundscapes. As mentioned before, there are more obvious moments of industrial and even elements of wave that put “Not For Music” to another level.
Best example for the expansion towards (synth-) wave is “Ever” that has a massive 80s touch and is still totally apocalyptic and bizarre on the other hand. Or “Digging The Sky” which takes elements of jazz, combining them with more metallic sounds, playing with dissonant harmonies and ritualistic vibes. Imagine some “Twin Peaks”-soundtrack weaving into blackgaze with dense atmosphere and you get “It Might Be”. And then there is “Let It Fall” that breaks everything up, dissolving all playful elements of the previous tracks in a harsh, noisy and totally dystopic collage.
But although EMPTINESS are more bizarre and discomforting than before, they still maintain some pushing drive, some kind of nasty groove. Some moments remind me of “Streetcleaner” by Godflesh or maybe the more modern approach by Gloom Warfare. Just to take another, unexpected turn only a few seconds later.
“Not For Music” is a gloomy, abstract, bizarre journey over 40 Minutes. It is a beauty in the dissonance. A fantastic unconventional record that baffles all description. “Not For Music” is not for narrow-minded metalheads, but for music lovers that seek for an unique approach on blended styles.