Emptiness: Nothing But The Whole

Let’s start with punches; the Belgian black metal band Enthroned makes generic music. They’re one of many icons that represent the stagnation of black metal’s growth today by consistently spitting out bland black metal. The reason why this is discussed because two of the primary members of Enthroned are also a part of the band called Emptiness (they really like their E’s). Emptiness as a band is doing the exact opposite of Enthroned and is creating very unique death/black metal. With their fourth LP, Nothing But The Whole,  they’re stirring pots and smacking pans with what is best described as Stephen King’s The Fog. If you’ve read the book or seen the movie, this fog is the product of an alien world that has escaped through a portal and has unleashed alien monstrosities. These creatures hide in the mist and snatch up humans whenever possible devouring them in horrific ways.


Nothing But The Whole fits this description because it bears an unworldly, foggy mysteriousness to it like there’s always something hidden in the next few minutes of each song to surprise you. The guitars are somehow much more ethereal than your standard black metal but dark enough to not be called shoegaze or post rock yet still able to be precise and sinister. The heaviness is surprising at times such as in “Tale of the Burning Man” and the grooviness of the riffs in “Behind the Curtain” provides a great mix throughout the album. OH LORD OH LORD THE BASS AS WELL. This is some great black/death bass let me tell you. It isn’t hidden behind the guitars and has its moments of triumph providing great depth to the sound. With this, each song is unique and has something else to offer with worthwhile riffs and great composition. The drums are not your standard affair and do well adding to the atmosphere. The vocals here, though, are a matter of discussion. They sound dark and industrial and somehow at times come out almost as abrasive speaking rather than growls or screaming. It really is hit or miss in some songs as sometimes the abrasiveness comes out as foreboding and ominous while in other songs it’s annoying. Overall the screams and growls are very on-point and menacing and could have been used maybe with a bit more variety throughout.


In retrospect, maybe the hate for Enthroned was a bit too much. If anything, this release has almost remedied the loathing and has really impressed us over at Deaf Sparrow for their creativity and flexibility within the genre. This is the kind of experimentation that black metal needs. Also, this review is not only satisfying in that it’s a great album but that it was released through Dark Descent Records and if you’ve read past reviews, we recently reviewed their label mate, Thantifaxath whom also released a fan-fucking-tastic album (and also dominated with their black metal bass game). This label is going to get huge if they keep releases like this coming out. These two reviews have inspired greater research into this label so hopefully you will all see more of their stuff reviewed in the future.


Emptiness Official Facebook

Written by Cole Olson

Emptiness: Nothing But the Whole
Dark Descent Records
4 / 5