EmptyI’m not sure you could get a better example of ‘orthodox black metal’ than this album by Spanish stalwarts Empty, on the Osmose label. And no that is not a criticism in the slightest. These guys have been around since about 1995 and are doing what they want to do regardless of fashion. This is their music.

Beginning with ‘… And Also The Misery’ there is a first album …In The Woods feel to the dark but lilting melody and the howled voices. This gives way to the more driving ‘Terrifying Lucidity Of The Wakefulness’, shades of Emperor circa ‘In The Nightside Eclipse’ in the undulating clouds of riffing and the fine, snarled vocals and a touch of prog to the fluid guitar breaks. It’s a stormy, epic song that is a good atmospheric beginning to the album. ‘The Funeral Song Be Sung’ continues in this vein, a little slower yes, but from the same dark cloth. There’s a lot of thoughtful variation in the singing with Empty, an ear for how they wrap around the rise and fall of the majestic riffs and hold the atmosphere deep within that cold winter night feeling.

This is a rich wine kind of sound; no it breaks no new ground and remains determinedly within its own insular world but that world is still full bodied, heady and strong on the palate. It is what it is, what it wants to be and as such at times almost defies criticism. This is well written, thoughtful epic black metal that still wears the robes of the early nineties. A less chaotic Emperor, a less sedate …In The Woods. A band mostly eschewing the creeping modernism of many black metal bands. Perhaps it could use a little more variation between tracks, and there are definitely times you wish it was a little less controlled or constrained (which they almost give in to on parts of ‘The Tree Of Dying Fruit’, that it gave in to that urge just to rage but that shouldn’t detract from what is a good, solid album of epic, melodic and orthodox black metal. If that is your thing, then they need serious attention.

Very nice logo too, as an aside.

7/10 Gizmo