“Vacío” is a strange album. I don’t mean that in a negative context at all. In fact, the strangeness of the album is part of what makes it so exceptional. The 42 minute opus can best be called Black Metal, but only in a cursory sense. This is one of those examples where genre tags really fail to define what is going on. There are certainly moments where the drums are blasting at high gear, the tremolo picked riffs are rampant, and the shrieks call to mind the darkest winter. Empty stay far from that formula in other places, however, with interesting, syncopated, or just plain disjointed rhythms, very noticable and well played bass, eerie, yet jazzy keys, and guitar riffs that delve into such a variety of other subgenres to nearly require their own full review. In addition, the vocals run the gamut from growls to howls and everything in between.
In the hands of a lesser band, this would just be a mess, but Empty are veterans, around since 1995, and this is their fifth full length. The current trio plus guests have composed a masterpiece of hair-raising metal, rooted in the black metal tradition, but wandering deep into caverns and tunnels of bleakness. This is hateful and minimalist progressive Black Metal. The addition of the word progressive tends to make me think an album will be softer and warmer. “Vacío” is neither. It is relentless and vicious in it’s utter strangeness, and once you’re captured, it won’t let go. Come. Press play. Get lost in the darkness. (Hayduke X)