Label: Fallen Empire Records
Release Date: 26 December 2018
Format reviewed: MP3 320kb
It’s a sad day when a band decides to end it’s creative existence due to various reasons, but I believe it’s equally heart breaking when a label has to close it’s doors, especially underground labels, as they usually set out to promote music that makes no compromises, and not commercial bands that book sold out tours. This is how the metal underground thrives, with record companies that have unshakeable faith in extreme forms of art, even if they specialise in a certain sub-genre, like Maggot Stomp, that releases putrid death metal, or they set out with an ideology, to bolster groups that praise nature for example, like Naturmacht Productions. In the latter category you can also fit the now defunct Fallen Empire Records, that wished for nothing but total numbing of the senses through its carefully selected roster.
Sadly, as I mentioned, in 2018 Fallen Empire Records had to call it a day, but they did so in a grandiose way, their last released album being “Acathexis”, by the band of the same name. The group is a trio formed by the talented musicians Jacob Buczarski (Mare Cognitum), Dany Tee (Seelenmord, Downfall of Nur) and Déhà (Yhdarl, Slow, and many, many more). After discovering the people involved, it actually made a lot of sense, because I could find elements from the other bands of the members, like Mare Cognitum’s introspective atmosphere, Seelenmord’s unrelenting speed, and Déhà’s projects typical emotional oppressiveness.
The project took its name from a psychological term that represents a condition in which significant objects or memories arouse no emotion in an individual, though I can assure you that listening to this enticing album will not leave your heart intact. Four songs, with lengths between nine and a half and 10 and a half minutes, form the debut of this band. At first, I thought that 40 minutes is not nearly enough to let an album like this sink in, but after my first listen I concluded that it’s the perfect length because this is not something that can be replayed over and over without falling into a pit of despair. The lyrical themes explore the dilemma of our existence, the pain of solitude and the feeling of pointlessness. It does this with ample, fast compositions that engage you from the second you press play. The album will pluck you from your mundane, daily routine and will throw you into a spiralling vortex of unanswerable questions that you will try to answer desperately, but without prevail.
This agonizing experience starts with the track “Immurement”. The song has a few seconds of clear guitar before erupting into a dizzying storm. What amazed me at first was just how ridiculously dense and massive the music sounds but also how much room to breathe is has. Not for a second did I feel asphyxiated during the playtime and I can only applaud the trio for this. The album continues in the same manner all throughout, but it never feels dull. In my opinion, the third piece, “Veins Hollowed” is the climax and the best song out of the four. It starts with such soft sounds, but even those crystal clear chords will break your will to breathe. The emotional intensity the band employs is a force to be feared. Only by listening to a single song can make you understand what kind of pain you are in the market for, but add the lyrics and the existential dread will be almost unbearable. Here’s a snippet from my favourite track: “In this rotten world/I can find nothing else /But the wretched husks/Of hopeless failure”. Out of context they might not mean much, but when everything is in place it creates an internal monologue of dejection cluttered with racing questions and painful realisations.
Simplified, “Acathexis” could be called “feel music”. Not fun, not nasty, not brutal, not evil, but feel. This is an album that requires only your time, your headphones and heart. Close your eyes and get lost in this torment of self. 9/10 Metal Gentleman