One of my favorite things about metal is how big tough metalheads cry like stupid babies when a band forsakes their “metal” roots, their heavy tendencies, and becomes less of the band they adorned their battle vests with. Emptiness is the latest band to arouse this sort of ire from the basement dwelling elite. Not For Music is not a metal album. It’s not extreme. It’s barely heavy. It’s also fucking brilliant.
The first I heard of Not For Music was an article on some site that cited Jordie White, of Marilyn Manson fame, as having a hand in the production. I am a shameless Marilyn Manson fan, and having enjoyed Emptiness in the past, my curiosity was immediately piqued. Their prior album Nothing But The Whole was an industrial tinged, dark, and compelling metal album. However, it was a metal album. Not that there was anything wrong with that. It was creative, unique, and very enjoyable. However, what Emptiness has created on Not For Music is a brand new beast. I’ve never heard anything like this.
Discard the final vestiges of metal from Nothing But The Whole, and amp up the industrial leanings. Add in a bit of post punk and goth. Maybe then you scratch the surface of Not For Music. It is a foreboding album, with an almost whispered, half snarled vocal delivery backed by plodding atmospheric music. The riffs have a dissonant bend that sounds almost as if Blut Aus Nord were slowed down, put in space, and made very very sad. The drums have a very cold mechanical feel, and the use of keyboards and synthesizers to expand the atmosphere are very prominent. There is a feeling of unease running through the album that is rare to come by, and even rarer to feel as deeply as on this record. Each song weaves together well, giving Not For Music cohesion and it’s own true identity.
Words truly fail to explain how much I enjoy Not For Music. I haven’t felt discomfort like this listening to an album since I first heard Children of God by Swans. I highly recommend this album to everyone who is ready to challenge their ears.
Release Date: January 20, 2017
Label: Season of Mist
Favorite Tracks: “Meat Heart”, “Ever”
For Fans Of: Blut Aus Nord, Godflesh, Swans, Marilyn Manson