No Empathy "Rust" LP
12" Vinyl limited to 500 copies. Mastered in Necromorbus Studios.
Review borrowed from: http://www.apochs.net/CDs/NoEmptahy-Rust.html
No Empathy is a newly signed, yet not too recently formed underground Black Metal act. Picked up by Ketzer Records, the band had apparently initially started out with a little more Thrash influence to their music, but eventually dropped it for a more traditional Black Metal Sound. The band formed back in 2004, and since then had issued five different demo recordings until finally finding a home to issue their debut full-length effort, Rust. But, does this offering have what it takes to demand your attention at this point in time in the Black Metal world?
Rust consists of eight tracks, the first of which is meerly an atmospheric introductory track. It isn't until "Chaosophic Horrorcult" that you start to grasp what the band is, though "Omega" sets a nice tone of a dark, horroric group atmospherically. The production to the release is pretty clear, though not crystal like many of today's more well established groups or labels would issue. There's still a slight raw trait to the sound, but not a lot to give the music much more of an edge. The guitars here sound somewhat sharp with a strong Black Metal distortion, though the music is often not the most original for the style, and the bass is there, though greatly dwarfed much of the time by the snares of the drum kit which are perhaps the loudest part of the album, even taking out some of the guitar work due to their compared volumes. The bass kicks aren't that great either, clearly being much louder and, while still having a bit more bass influence to the mix, they ultimately sound more wooden then anything and don't make much of an impact. The snares, though so loud, still sound great, and as do the cymbols which are at a level that is ripe for this rather aggressive Black Metal offering. Vocally, the album is your traditional rhaspier vocal approach, but there's a good amount of energy here behind the performance to work well with all the varying sounds of the album.
The music often seems to have more of a ritualistic sound to them, which can often be felt in the drumming of the recording. "Chaosophonic Horrocult" does a good job establishing this periodically through the song, but the band is not afraid to just go in a more traditional approach to the style, showing shades of later second wave acts in their approach, but a more refined sound that doesn't rely solely on blast beats for every track. "Chalice of Vaus" does incorporate that more modern approach to the style thanks to it's heavier and faster approach that sees blast beat-esque drumming and chaotic guitar work through much of the faster moments, and a dismal, more ritualistic style of atmosphere to the slower moments of the track, though the latter isn't really anything all that special and, in this track, it feels a little tacked on and not necessary to the flow of the track, making it seem like the band is using it to expand on the song's track length in order for it to make the near eight and a half minute mark.
In the end, that does become a bit of a problem for this release. While many songs don't necessarily go into a slower section and feel like it's eating up time, many of the longer tracks seem to just go on a little too long. "Omega" makes for a nice ambient introduction to the release and gives the listener a good idea of what to expect, though the rest of the tracks here don't quite carry that strong an atmosphere, or ever really go back into a similar Ambient-fueled approach to anything including interlude and instrumentals, and the lack of Ambient specific passages really ends up being a good thing here given the more straight-forward Black Metal approach the band is going for. But the problem is that the songs can often feel a bit drawn out and, while intense, not the most engaging of music after a while, leaving listeners to wish the band would have cut some of the songs down. "Chaosophonic Horrorcult" is one of them due to the more ritualistic approach and it's simpler sound. After a while it feels a bit repetitive and doesn't really offer much to the listener after the first few minutes, but this could also be due to the heavy drum focus and how loud they are causing them to really stand out more then they should, drowning out some of the guitars and really making it sound a little more simplified then it possibly is. "Towards Infinity" essentially becomes the culmonation of everything that the band has been working up to. There's some solid ritual-like moments blended with more modern and earlier second wave sounds and intensity with some catchier slow moving passages and a haunting somewhat ambient-driven introduction that lasts for a while and doesn't really get old right away, all keeping the listener engaged throughout the song without feeling like the band isn't beating the dead horse to extend the life of the song.
"Rust" shows what the band is capable of when working within the confines of a shorter track length, and it really proves this theory well that the songs should have been shorter at times. The songs maintains more of a ritualistic sound to it. The track basically just never stops coming at you and offers up enough variety to the mix to keep you attentive the entire time without becoming repetitive. The ending feels a little lacking, but overall the song doesn't leave you listening for a long period of time while half of that time unenthused and feeling like it should have ended a little while ago already. The same can be said for "Kill" and even "Black Maelstrom". Both of these feature better endings and overall just feel more like solid trackis, both not necessarily feeding into the ritualistic driven music either, which really brings out some top-notch mixtures of a more modern Black Metal sound with soem catchy and melancholic early second wave riffs that really stand out nicely, especially during "Kill".
Rust has it's mixture of things working for and against it. Overall, the album is not that bad really, and mixes a good deal of various Black Metal ideas and concepts together, though not all the time successfully. The ritualistic aspects of the album are not the most amazing, and that's largely in part of how loud the drums are and their ability to drown out the other instruments. The band also likes to extend the life of their songs, and sometimes it works, but most of the time it doesn't, and a strong track ends up feeling like the band is kind of forcing it to go on even though the structure doesn't really allow for such an elongated performance. Really, it's the shorter songs here that show off the band of No Empathy, and they also become the most energetic and enthralling of the songs here, coming from a more basic Black Metal concept then trying to mold together ambient performances, focusing in atmosphere and not really making it strong enough to be noticed, and typically ends naturally and around when it feels right. Rust is a release worth checking out by Black Metal fans, as it does show some promise for this group