Nothing But the Whole
Dark Descent Records
While not busy with the far more popular Enthoned, Phorgath and Olve are busy with Emptiness, presenting a style that is vastly different from the aforementioned, yet equally disturbing to followers of the respective bands. Having already encountered Emptiness 2 years ago with Error, this year Dark Descent Records presents the band’s fourth full length album, Nothing but the Whole.
Fitting to the band’s moniker, the album kicks off with Go and Hope, and the band taunts those that hope for a brighter and better future with a soundscape and atmosphere that is rather depressive. The vocals of Phorgath are disturbing, as he speaks out the lyrics in a low growl, backed by chilling cries at the background and the somewhat melancholic melodies that are unleashed by Olve and Phil. At the same time, there is that contradicting calmness that is in the background, leaving one in a further state of confusion.
Things start to heat up with the title track, Nothing but the Whole and some semblance of the more traditional black and death metal come in, with the band starting to take the aggression up a notch. Yet throughout, the band retains that atmospheric aspect of their music, and one can’t help to bring about comparisons to bands such as Shroud of Despondency and the likes. For instance, the trem-picked riffs on Behind the Curtain would have easily fit into the release of bands such as Nargaroth, though the band quickly throws in a myriad of complex death metal riffing to throw the listener off his feet.
I remember Error being one that is crushing as fuck, with the weirdness being compared to Portal or Impetuous Ritual. These elements of dissonance and crushing intensity are still present, but the band has turned that side of them down quite a bit. In place of that, there is an ominous air of disturbance and sense of unease that the listener feels throughout the record, with the band placing much more focus on the atmospheric aspects this time round. The (much) slower pace that the band takes now also helps in making Nothing but the Whole an extremely unpleasant record, and the hopelessness and desolation that is on the record is sure to leave one feeling nothing but emptiness at the end of it.