Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2018
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Promises not claimed. Okay but uninspired. - 63%

Lane, February 9th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2014, CD, Terrasound Records

Polish semi-melodic death/thrash band Empatic's sophomore album 'Ruined Landscape' throws some promises with its beautifully terminal cover artwork and exceedingly somber piano intro the album opens with. The debut album 'Gods of Thousand Souls' (2010) gave quite a lot of promises for this one. Actually, it has gotten better during these two months since I reviewed it and scored it 6 and a half out of 10.

One thing I blamed the debut album for was the band's faceless approach. That's not news in nowadays' metal music map, because of the amount of active bands. This facet of Empatic really haven't changed, and I must add, that they aren't the most faceless band around. Plus, I would never call these fellows as copycats. They just happen to be influenced by melodic death metal and thrash metal, I presume. This album isn't totally similar to the debut, because the band have given more space for... fuck it, man, you already can guess?!?!! More space for metalcore and groove metal, and without any surprise, may I add! Not the path I wanted them to take, for sure.

The basis of Empatic's music consist of death metal, from Vader to In Flames, and modern thrashing in vein of The Haunted. It is heavy and it's groovy too, but it's far from being ultra-violent. Just like the legendary bands, Empatic have both brightening and boring parts in their music, but much less of so called killer bits. However, I cannot say that I get bored while listening to this album. It simply contains some less catchy songs and song parts. This starts straight from the start: As mentioned earlier, the intro is a beauty leading to some bold smacking, yet the composition itself is somewhat erratic. It shows how forceful the band can be, and how brooding and stygian they can get. Then comes this metalcore/deathcore monstrosity called 'Crimen Pessimum'. And it's a monstrosity in a negative way; "jump-da-fuck-up" element introduced, fuck and then some!!!

It slowly gets better with following two songs, and 'Oblivion Path' is one of the highlights here. It starts a bit dully, but when it reaches the chorus and the guitar lead part, wow! Now this is exactly of that quality I can expect from the band. 'Ambush' is total The Haunted worship, and again with catchy chorus. It's now safe to say, that lead guitar work on this album is vivid, meaning it catches ear and sticks to brain. Yeah, it can be rather technical too. Even though 'Valley of Shadows' has an animate "suffering in hell" intro, the song is quite blunt. See, there is a lot of chugging riffing, that is simply immemorial. So, the guitar work too has two sides to it.

Hypocrisy and Fleshcrawl-esque 'Obsession' is a great mid-paced piece with some pummelling double kick drumming and succesful share between melody and aggression. In a word: Irresistible! Straight after this beauty comes this metalcore rhythm thingy 'Fight'. Okay, it has some great lead guitar stuff that saves it from being a total waste. In this context, metalcore influences are sometimes tolerable. I mean if you can tolerate them altogether, that is. 'Countenance of Fear' starts with tight thrashing, but the band decided to drop tempo and get all groovy at times. I think they follow this "first thrashing, then groovier" formula too tightly on many a song. Arch Enemy-ish 'Struggle (Empatic II)' is a good instrumental, but could have contained vocals with ease.

The production of the album is very much suited to this kind of music. Empatic's delivery is sturdy. The bass guitar really caterwauls, the guitars shred and the drums are pounding. It's not the cleanest sound here, but it is clean enough for individual instrument detection. On metalcore parts, it does get more mechanical, but otherwise it is well organic. The throaty growl from the vocalist is burly. There's also more hardcore vocalization styles heard, depending on a style the band's playing. More high-pitched growls on suitable death metal instants: Check.

Again, Empatic have put out an album, that is so bloody promising! It has same problems as the debut did: on/off songwriting (hardly anything fluent) and fairly faceless output. On the brighter note, it still does not require pushing "next" button, at least not much ('Crimen Pessimum' is a very, very strong candidate for such a track, surely). The good things are how the band can make it roll and how they hit it in during the best moments, plus the fabulous lead guitar work. They will put out that killer album, I'm sure of that! And I hope it's their third one.

(Originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com in October 2014)