This is a release that combines a fair few different blackened styles into its 54 minute running time. Across the seven tracks one can hear raw, traditional black metal, atmospheric post-metal, melodic black metal, depressive shoegaze and a touch of the avant-garde.
Although this is a lot of different sub-genres, Emptiness is not quite as diverse or potentially disjointed as it might sound when reading the above description. Ashes of Nowhere combine elements of the aforementioned styles into a cohesive whole so that the different parts they select from each of their influences are the ones that complement each other the best. This makes for music that’s usually, (but not always), fast, melodic, atmospheric and layered with textured darkness and mood. Speed may be the main theme of the release in some ways, but when they do slow things down a couple of notches this is usually done equally effectively.
The songs are well-written and manage to contain the band’s enthusiasm for combining their various influences well. Each song, for all its diverse elements, is stylistically similar, allowing Emptiness to provide a coherent experience throughout the playing time. The songs are enjoyable and satisfying, with the right amount of emotive content balanced against the more aggressive tendencies of the band.
The vocals follow the music in giving the listener a bit of variety too. Blackened screams are the main mode of assault, but these are backed up with deep growls, along with other vocalisations that range from spoken word to outright powerfully-sung clean vocals. We also get some female vocals on Grains of Sand, too.
The music flows well from track to track and overall I enjoyed this album thoroughly. Production-wise the band get things just right too, providing a sound that’s solid and clean enough without coming across as sterile or too far from the underground where Emptiness naturally lives.