Empty Chalice – Mother Destruction (2019)

The newest release from Empty Chalice is just a spine-tingling and unpleasant as you may expect. The first track that we have here is “Unholy Light” which begins with the humming of children, yet wanders down a frightening corridor, truly fit for that of a horror movie soundtrack. It ends with just a faint hum, leaving an almost deathly silence. “Treblinka’s Snow” has an icy chill, while a woman reads equally chilly poetry. There’s also a video accompaniment to this one, which seems to warn us of the dangerous of communism and how it led to mass starvation in Russia. Please let us not forget that Stalin starved his own people, left to die in the snow. As the piece continues, the atmosphere becomes almost mechanical, where the voice fades to let loose the horrors of war. I can almost hear the air raid sirens. Once again, we are left with a deadly silence. “Qua Resurget Ex Favilla” comes next, with what sounds like a demon snoring. He also seems to be snarling in his sleep, probably dreaming of terrorizing people – but I don’t think that all demons do that, I’ve heard they get rather stressed. Something of a meditative notion comes later, where a faint hum and chanting can be heard. There’s also what sounds like a chanting snake-demon (or maybe it’s attractive lamia, don’t judge) somewhere in the background. The chanting continues, as does the hissing. Maybe this is what it sounds like when a lamia has an orgasm. Whatever the case, it is quite ethereal and definitely the least horrific track on the album. “Rest In Pain” is our next experience, which begins with what sounds like communicated messages through an electric current, though rolls right into ritual. Of course, this could be a sort of verbal argument where ritual is in the background. After the ritual has ended, we are left with a tiny sound that spans for quite a few minutes and serves as a sort of release. The final track here is the title piece, which serves as a multitude of different emotives, ranging from therapeutic to downright terrifying. There isn’t much in the way of other types of sound effects, but it can feel like you’re barreling down the mouth of hell itself – or the abyss, if you like. There does seem to be a glittering chocolate center in that abyss however, where the record takes its final journey. Though is all truly as it seems? The end of the disc is almost as mysterious as it began, with the subtle sounds of children.

At the end of the day, I’m quite fond of the tapestries woven on this album and look forward to more experiences from an artist that makes us question nearly every note of the journey that he’s offered to take us on. Rest assured, it isn’t a very happy place – but it doesn’t merely latch onto frightening the listener as some kind of Halloween friendly novelty. That, we can be thankful for. There are several videos online that accompany these tracks, but I prefer listening to them more than I do watching, because they can be a bit of a time-sink.

(5 Tracks, 51:00)

8/10

Purchase HERE (Bandcamp)

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