At Spirit Level, we are always interested in music that blends genres and pushes boundaries. With that in mind, the new record from Swiss blackened death metal ‘Stortregn’ has been an ever expanding ear worm for us over the past months. In a genre that has continued to churn out some fantastic music throughout the year, ‘Emptiness Fills The Void’ is still able to stand out as a great example of what is possible when you think outside of the box. This is the fourth album from ‘Stortregn’, but the first one that has ever come to our attention so we are unable to compare this with their earlier work; but suffice to say this is more than just death metal with the occasional black metal instrumental melody thrown in.
‘Emptiness Fills The Void’ is full to the brim of creative guitar work and harsh vocal hooks. Opening track ‘Through The Dark Gates’ sets up what is to come with an expansive and immersive six minute song that ranges from classical spanish guitar styles to blistering riffs and double kick drums at the flick of a switch whilst the vocals alternate between low and high growls and screams. Later, instrumental interim ‘The Chasm Of Eternity’ has an almost ‘Tool’ quality with palm muted finger tapping with an ever building electronic backing before ‘Lawless’ tears in as one of the fastest songs on the record. Each song takes a relatively simple guitar lick and builds on it until it is an almost unrecognisable storm of masterful chaotic brutality. This is exemplified in the final tracks ‘Shattered Universe’ which gallops at a phenomenal pace before descending into a sprawling maelstrom of riffs and shredding solos. Closing number ‘Children Of The Obsidian Light’ is an eleven minute piece that both summarises the entire record and also shows the true musical prowess of the band. In the hands of lesser musicians, a song like this would begin to drag on after a while, however ‘Stortregn’ are able to maintain momentum and creativity throughout with ever changing guitar parts and drumming so fast that The Flash would struggle to keep up.
Whilst not without its faults (some of the spoken word parts in the earlier songs can come across a bit cheesy); ‘Emptiness Fills The Void’ is a magnificently ambitious record that deserves commendation. Drawing from such a wide range of influences can sometimes hamper bands that play music to such extremity, but ‘Stortregn’ make it sound easy.
Personal highlight: Track 4, ‘Nonexistence’ is one of the most progressive songs of the album featuring a recurring guitar tapping lick of breakneck speeds; it begins as a relatively simple song before descending into a truly haunting bridge that leads to an epic crescendo of nightmarish vocals and a monumental dual guitar solo.
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