In order to ‘celebrate’ the split of Russia’s premium sadness Combo Emptiness Soul, I promised myself, and the labels involved, to write down about cheer and happiness provided the aural way by these doomsters. On December 31st 2014 we did upload the review for Three Days, which was released via Metallic Media, and now it’s time for Life=Pain, done via Ukrainian Vacula Productions and two same-minded labels, Sphera Noctis Records (with Vacula taking care of the CD-edition) and Rio Vermelho Recs for the (extremely limited) cassette version.
Life=Pain was the band’s last official recording / release, and it lasts for more than an hour. I think it’s like the figuratively ‘swan song’, the closure of an era (though it was a short one, despite the intensity, influence and legacy). And since this stuff expresses depression and negativity, I’d like to start with a mostly unhappy fact: the sound. Once again, the production is way too clean (yes, not too noisy or primitive, but indeed too decent) and that’s a pity, for some more rawness could strengthen the feelings of hatred, desolation, pain and apathy for sure. But I do not think it might be a ‘problem’. From musical point of
view listen, Emptiness Soul do collect their essence, being a mixture of funereal, highly melodious and grim Black Metal hymns, and I will come back to each aspect right here. The ‘funereal’ approach is a characteristic courtesy of this trio. This album might sound less ‘Funeral Doom’-oriented than the former one, Three Days, yet still the post-life experience gets honestly expressed right here in an aural definition. But then again, I think the material on this release sounds little more heavy and intense than before, as if the band knew this album would be their final legacy to Mater Terra. When talking, secondly, about the melodious aspect, well, then there has not been much change. Still there are quite some high-tech and long-stretched tremolo leads, which might refer to a certain Shoegaze-attitude. But the many melodic riffs and supportive keyboard interventions too strengthen that ‘melodious’ aspect. The third thing I referred to was the grimness, and in a natural prolongation of the past, this expression of anti-beauty remains maintained. Despite the melodic and atmospheric execution, the whole is covered within a thick-foggy veil of rotting remains. And then again, all those classic intermezzos, based on piano, synths, (acoustic) guitars or whatever, balance like a perfect counter-equilibrium.
But there are some (major) changes too, like a couple of songs increased in heaviness (Only A Few Live is quite a good example), the improved mix (the bass lines, for example, are much more at the foreground this time), and why not, the supplemented tracks at the end, like the massive moker-track Ode To The Suicide (what withholds you anyway?). The live version of Dreams too is a nice addition (though it deals with a 2012-registration)…