Artist: Epiphany from the Abyss
Album: The Emptiness of All Things
Many people mistake darkness for emptiness. There is always the thought that the great black void that exists at the end of all things is filled with nothing; just a dark absence of matter and life. This is folly. If you stand at the precipice of this perceived emptiness, stare it down to its very core and scream until your lungs ache and your chest heaves something will answer. At first a subtle whisper, so faint it could be a distant echo. However, as it lingers, nesting in your ears, it grows—from a faint whisper to a deafening roar, a beast of dissonance and entropy hungry enough to swallow you whole. This beast is The Emptiness of All Things, the sophomore full-length release by the curious deathcore outfit Epiphany from the Abyss. One part technical, blackened seasoning and one part ear-catching, intriguing symphony to two parts backbreaking, bone-bending heaviness, The Emptiness of All Things is a scintillating deathcore album that will have the listener’s attention—and enjoyment—from beginning to end.
From the subtle, eerie beginning of “Until the Black Death Takes Us,” to the closing note of the epic track “The Nightmare Pilgrim,” The Emptiness of All Things is an instrumental chimera that uses its many influences to keep the listener engaged. The percussion, courtesy of Alexandre Delisle-Drouin, is pristine—punchy, aggressive and energetic. Whether it’s the billowing toms that roll and flow in the background during the introduction to “Biopsychosocial Enslavement” or the punishing speed of the kick drum and blast beats during “Extinctionists,” Delisle-Drouin’s percussion is varied and technically magnificent, capable of adding energy and speed to any situation, just as it is capable of matching even the slowest and most overdrawn symphonies. Where Epiphany from the Abyss’ percussion is punctual—and dare I say perfect—the fretwork follows suit. A glimmering example of this is the aforementioned “Biopsychosocial Enslavement,” where groovy, catchy riffs flow perfectly into stellar, sky-high solos as guitarists Tristan Tremblay and Gabriel Levesque fight for supremacy. One second, their tones might be subterranean, filthy and laden with muck to match Cyrille Beauchesne’s bass tone—but at the drop of a hat or the crack of a snare fill, they reach for the skies, sooner becoming extra-terrestrial than subterranean. Another marvelous example lies in the introduction to “Pillars of Immortality,” where perfect tone and booming dissonance take a backseat to catchy, frantically strummed classical guitar and splashy percussion. This same shock-to-the-system variety appears during the climax of “The Emptiness of All Things,” where Tremblay and Levesque opt to indulge in the ear-soothing, mind-numbing beauty of a stellar, symphonic harmony—rather than their go-to skin-flaying, bone-shredding combination of unabashed heaviness and lethal technicality.
Epiphany from the Abyss rely heavily on the instrumentation to incorporate segments of symphony and melodic musicianship into their jarring breed of heavier-than-heavy deathcore. The act follow a similar tactic vocally—however, rather than use their frontman to add fluff and relief from the lacerating instrumentation, they use him to amplify it. Vocalist Mathieu Dhani relies on a shrill, The Black Dahlia Murder-esque scream to add a thick layer of blackening onto every track, searing the listener’s skin with heat and fury so tangible, it can practically be felt pouring out of their headphones. This, however, isn’t to say that The Emptiness of All Things lacks vocal variety. Where Dhani uses his visceral scream as a stand-by, he readily dives into guttural, gory bellows (“Pillars of Immortality” exemplifies this) or shrieks even higher than his standard scream (watch out for his ear-splitting range on “Biopsychosocial Enslavement”). Dhani’s intense scream after the serene introduction to the album’s nearly-twelve-minute-long “The Nightmare Pilgrim” sends the track kicking into high gear—as well as sending the listener’s jaw to the floor. His awe-inspiring range and perfection of a raw, blackened vocal style adds another facet to Epiphany from the Abyss to make The Emptiness of All Things immensely varied and packed with incredible material despite not feeling dense or forced in the slightest.
As you’ve probably gathered by now, despite it’s name, The Emptiness of All Things is far from empty. While the almost-an-hour-long run time might dissuade some fans of heavy music, fear not: while it is a long album, it is neither dense nor repetitive, and loaded with moments of metal mastery that are sure to pepper 2014’s musical highlight reel. “The Nightmare Pilgrim,” for example, is a track that combines Between the Buried and Me’s ability to craft epic, roaming songs with Make Them Suffer’s symphonic touches and The Black Dahlia Murder’s blackening—all with breakdowns and grooves that make Oceano or Infant Annihilator seem like lightweights. Epiphany from the Abyss do a wonderful job of using a whole melting pot of varied musical influences to their advantage—from jazz-fusion to jaw-dislocating technicality—to create their own unique sound that rings true throughout every second of The Emptiness of All Things. “The Atrocities I Deserve” is another track—while clocking in at a paltry five minutes—that includes all of the aspects of Epiphany from the Abyss’ marvelous dynamic to latch hooks into the listener’s ears and drag them deep, deep into the abyss—where no amount of shouting, screaming, crying or praying can hope to save them.
If The Emptiness of All Things is the monster that goes bump in the night, then children across the world should no longer fear the dark. Epiphany from the Abyss have crafted simultaneously the most technically impervious album since Nexilva’s Eschatologies and progressively perfect album since The Great Misdirect—with brutality that would make Black Tongue blush. In short, The Emptiness of All Things is a long album for people who don’t like long albums–an album that, even in spite of a lengthy run-time, will stay stuck on repeat until darkness swallows the earth.
For Fans Of: The Black Dahlia Murder, Nexilva, Make Them Suffer, Between the Buried and Me, Oceano
By: Connor Welsh