One reason I enjoy reviewing dark ambient album is that it gives me a chance to bring out all my (likely) pseudo-intellectual philosophizing. On the face of it, dark ambient music makes the least sense to have something to philosophize over. There’s no real melody, no lyrics, but somehow, I’ve found meaning in nearly all the albums I’ve listened to and examined that I would not have been able to find in an album of another genre. How? I’m still trying to work that out. I think every time I analyze and look beneath the surface of things I get closer to the answer. However, I’ve barely scratched the surface of dark ambient. There is so much out there. Hundreds and hundreds of albums all in dozens of different styles with different effects and with different meanings. The entire genre is hidden from the view of the public, though. Ironically, I think that’s the best way to start examining dark ambient. Why is it hidden from the public? Is it hidden or is it ignored?
As I said, every album I examine, I feel like I get closer to understanding why there’s such a connection between philosophy and dark ambient and why I can see it clearer here than any other genre. With that mindset, I began listening to and examining Emerging is Submerging – The Evil by Empty Chalice. The Empty Chalice is helmed by the same man behind Gopota (read the review I did for Gopota here). Empty Chalice retains some of the nasty death industrial drone of Gopota but has enough differences in the sound and quality to justify another project.
Empty Chalice has more horror ambient and tribal ambient elements and frames the death industrial and blackened noise differently. The album has a very sinister feel to it (despite the album’s cover). It’s the kind of sinister feel you should expect from an album called “the Evil.” Its hollow and ritualistic production hints (or more than hints) at something very dark and monstrous. Knowing that this project came from the same mind as Gopota, I was expecting the production to be very rough and scratchy; however, the music was, for the most part, very sharp and clear. It still had a good atmosphere though. It has a sort of fuzzy, buzzy feel that makes it uncomfortable but still draws the listener in. The layout of the music itself was also pretty good. While I, personally, would have broken some of the songs up to emphasize some of the themes and motifs, the structure is still sound.
The album’s theme is meant to frighten and thrill the listener at the same time. The anticipation, the ritual, and the coming of, I’m assuming, the Antichrist is one way to look at it. I think that was one of the intents. However, I feel like there’s a deeper way to look at things. Look at the title itself “Emerging is Submerging.” There are several ways of looking at that title and each of them comes with an outlook on the album. Does the title refer to the emergence of something (say a personality) and thereby the submergence of another? That could lead the album to having several themes about mental disorders, madness, and identity which I think is fascinating. Does the title refer to the idea that something is emerging from the underworld, or that our perspective is flipped and we are part of the underworld (physical, spiritual, or metaphorical) and something is coming for us from above? Each of those puts the album’s soundscape in a different context.
While Emerging is Submerging – The Evil wasn’t exactly what I was expecting it to be, I still enjoyed it. Truth be told, I think I enjoyed it more once I realized it wasn’t going to be a straight up death industrial album. The Empty Chalice project has a lot of potential. I would like to see him continue the train of thought he began in Emerging is Submerging. I want to see how the philosophy plays itself out. I want the nihilistic end of the world, post-apocalyptic, raw but poetic manic style we got here.
Highlights: Look into My Eyes, Muffled Scream
For Fans Of: Gopota, Tvpla, Human Larvae
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- Look into my Eyes
- Muffled Scream
- Emerging is Submerging
- Stolen breaths and destroyed hope
Emerging is Submerging – The Evil was released by Industrial Ölocaust Recordings on August 21st, 2017.