Irreparable-Complete Emptiness EP. FFO: Extremely well crafted and grim gothic/darkwave/black metal brilliance.


Irreparable-Complete Emptiness EP. FFO: Extremely well crafted and grim gothic/darkwave/black metal brilliance.

By Mark Jenkins.
We rather belatedly reviewed their 2019 dazzling debut-Transfixion in October 2022, and it still holds up as one of that year's best releases. We review heaps of releases and my absolute bugbear or issue with most releases is they have no soul or emotion. Literally cogs in the mass music machine. So when I got this release, the anticipation was massively high and this beast delivers. This band is a pure incredible dark force that are masters at their genre.

Complete Emptiness is five tracks of unhinged, but masterful grim audio violence.
Very broadly it is a deeply gothic-influenced dark wave metal band, that is perfectly underpinned by raw black metal, almost war metal(minus all the crypto-fash bullshit) and is driven by manic programmed drums and beats; giving it an apocalyptic and quite industrial theme/tone. So very much my fave type of band-unclassifiable and original as fuck. Indeed, this is a worthwhile and deep-rooted release.

Opener Searing Lustre commences with gloomy and radiant darkwave-like beats and like many songs the build-up and tension is epic. But alas, come the 1:58 min mark, bats literally fly out of the demon's mouth with crushing, dissonant black metal riffs that rip your skull wide open. Then you have solid and stomping beats to take you out, but then another surprise is at the end of the track; clever mixing of dsbm with a thick gothic tone. Wow, what an opening masterpiece. 

Next up are the two bangers that are Retribution 1 and 2. Before we get to that, it has to be documented that this band delivers so much from their previous band experience/skills-this is a world-class release, not amateur hour. At every level, this band succeeds so dominantly. The lyrics are outstanding and remind me of truly top-class gothic-style horror writing, no easy feat!. Then add gifted programming and fantastic use of synths/keys. This is easily matched with an abrasive and crushing bass performance and frankly exceptional guitar work up there with the classic black metal masters. And the evil cherry on top of this bleak cake is Nick's electrifying vocal work-it not only does serves as a main instrument of the band but the vocal phrasing and variation in style blew me away on this release. 

Part 1: Through the Abyss starts off moody as hell, then quickly is both dramatic and haunting in a mountainous way. This is chilling and so damn heavy. They certainly pack heaps into each track and there is never a dull moment. This release is unrelenting. Part 2: Salvation starts off very atmospheric in a Sisters of Mercy style meets cold-hearted Dark Wave. Again the key is the breathtaking mood that drips in every part of this EP. This is what real music fans crave, to feel the emotion and to go on a wild journey from what they are tuning into. The highlight was the compelling electronica on display around the 3:56 min part of the track, I could listen to just that for hours. This is definitely well-crafted songwriting with spectacular skill. And the guest vocals on this were stunning, this was an absolute gothic chillout classic. 

Soulless is the release's longest track and another compelling beast of a track. This is more upbeat and has that dark gothic nightclub vibe, and the guitarwork was wild on this; loved the jangling almost indie riffs(also a bit like Siouxsie and the Banshees or Bauhaus guitar magic). The groove contained in this was splendid and time passed so quick on this song. And such a striking and eventful ending. Impressive band and a thrilling release.  

Fractured Essence is the monumental closer and one has to be impressed by the sequence/order of songs on this release; it just works so perfectly. This is a slow-burning grim animal indeed and has some glorious tapping noises that really unsettle you in combination with the vile and ghoulish vocals.  And I must stress this again, this band is so many levels above other bands because they can turn or change a track on its head in a split second, in this song the beefy change at 3:20 min not only impressed the fuck out of me, but it blew my mind as this is a technical task few bands can do well. This wins the best track on this EP prize and is easily in the top five songs of the year. And also has another malicious and noisy ending. 

Complete Emptiness is majestic, evil as fuck and has five classic tracks. Cannot wait for a full album of this superb style, delivered so perfectfully.
Will be one of the best releases all year!!!

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