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Unlike a lot of writers at the Metal Archives tend to do it, this will not be the first of a series on certain bands from a certain region. No, I refuse to follow this trend, because this is a herd mentality and therefore something I abhor. What if one review goes missing and the reader is stuck between number three and five. Even though also this will not lead to the destruction of the world, not even a (later deleted) 100% review for Heirdrain did, it is awkward nonetheless. So, for all those who are interested in some form of guide: Emptys – Immortal Rites – Rajam; this list will not be edited in case additional reviews on bands from Indonesia have been written.
Six tracks appear on Emptys' release and they range in length from around one minute to nearly three and a half. In common do they have the overall approach of the band: a mixture of black and death metal, which come with a good amount of breaks. Moreover, aggressiveness is another facet of the band's oeuvre and it can be found throughout the entire demo; with the exception of the intro of Grimslander (Single version) maybe. The band sticks to this approach and never leave this path entirely. Consistency is always a positive aspect of a concept and it can be a glimpse of hope among on overarching darkness.
In terms of the riff-structure the band is rather on the death metal site of the track, but black metal influences appear also now and then; see the vocals for instance. Generally speaking, the listener can expect quite straight-forward stuff and the average in track length would also not allow otherwise. Complex written arrangements and overloaded compositions cannot be found here, rather some kind of minimalism and concentration of the basics of this genre mixture. Even though some might find this wanting, due to the shallowness of the overall concept, the band sticks to it and varies the compositions enough to keep the interest of the listener over the whole length of the release. The vocals are basically some form of croaking, but have a slight dissonant sound; some distortion was used to give them a sick sound. Emptys stick to fast played music and the riffs played by the guitars are accordingly not too complex. Speaking of the strings, not only the existence of a bass is positive, furthermore the ability to hear it among the other instruments should be emphasized. Yet, it faces some difficulties in unfolding its potential as the guitars and the drums clearly dominate the music and especially the latter one shapes the perception of the listener of this release.
One short-coming of this release would be its length. Six compositions and less then sixteen minutes is not really much and Destroyed Holy Shrine is over pretty soon. Another aspect is the production or better said the mix, which is not optimal, as the vocals are a bit too much in the back, something the guitars have to face now and then, too, and is the perception of the music a mixed experience. There seems have been some kind of distortion of the vocals and I cannot say I like it; this strange kind of croaking is a bit odd. Also a solo now and then would certainly make the release better.
This release will not unfold itself from the very beginning and especially the way the band made use of the breaks -- reference: Dark Funeral on Attera Totus Sanctus but not so well executed, to get an idea -- is an aspect not all listeners might find interesting. Yes, the whole approach is a bit wanting and it lacks a bit of depth, but the quality is still good and the music is listenable. Especially the last track with its catchy rhythm and melody is quite good and hopefully the band would use more of this style for their forthcoming releases. Fans of slightly (slightly aggressive) death/black should give this release a try.
Recommended tracks: Grimslander (Single version) (minus the rather pointless the intro)
The release comes with a pro-printed CD and a coloured booklet, but without lyrics ... just some liner notes.
It’s rare to find good demos from areas like South East Asia and this demo is actually a good example of melodic black metal. Not actually 100% black metal but a mix of black and death. Something what a band like Hecate Enthroned would play. “Destroyed Holy Shrine” is one demo with a lack of hype which should have a huge hype.
The demo starts off with a fast paced song. The vocals spewed up are similar to Dimmu Borgir’s Shargrath. However compared to Shargrath, the vocals are almost undecipherable. This is probably due to the vocalist’s thick accent. What I don’t like about the first track, “Desember Maha Sadis” is that it starts ends suddenly. No outro or flow into the next track. The second track starts off with keyboards and a few strums and no drums, giving it an eerie feel. The speed of track changes dramatically when the drum comes in but the eerie feel is maintained. This track is much more melodic compared to the first track. The third track which is the title track is served with a slice of thrashy guitars and soon turned to a blackened feel. The tremolos in this track are well done and an amazing work of furious drumming is shown here with the help of double pedals. Lots of cymbal attacks are used in this title track compared to first 2 tracks. This track then falls into silence.
The fourth track, “Amarah” comes rampaging with an amazing bass line. Not so complex but easy to listen. The guitars are in typical black metal tremolo style. Despite the catchy bass line, it gets quite dull as the same bass line keeps repeating itself throughout the whole song. The fifth track, The Crushed Wisdom comes in with a blackened thrash sound. The song is very straight forward. No verses, no chorus just unbridled mayhem. The last track come starts off with a minute long orchestral piece with voice samples of a lady screaming in fear. The vocals in this song is the clearest so far but still harsh. I still can’t make out the vocalist is saying but at least I can hear the vocals instead of being overwhelmed by the instruments. The guitars in this song are very melodic and very catchy. Honestly, this is the best track in this demo.
As a conclusion, this demo gives a good first impression. As a fan of Hecate Enthroned, I recommend this to other Hecate Enthroned fan. The use of keyboards does not overpower other instruments in this demo. Be warned that there are no guitar solos here. The production is not so good but this is a demo and not an album so that could be forgiven. Horns up for these Indonesians.