Empusae – Funestus

Recently I visited a concert by This Morn’ Omina. I was rather late, so I missed half of the support act. Which was rather a pity, because Empusae turned out to be quite good. I thought it was just another dark ambient act, but in fact it sounded much more original. Not so strange, when you know that the guy behind Empusae, Nicolas Van Meirhaeghe, is also closely related to This Morn’ Omina. I find the music of Empusae quite hard to describe. It’s more tranquil and relaxed than the technoid industrial of TMO, but it’s also not ambient chill-out music. On the website of the label Divine Comedy Records, I found the phrase ‘esoteric-intelligent industrial music tinged by e.b.m, d & b, or abstract ambient-filmography’.

In other words, you get complex electronic music, drawing from a variety of influences. The mood is relatively dark and cold, which is also reflected in songtitles as ‘Agony (Misère I)’ and ‘Oorlog’. Some tracks remind you of science-fiction or horror-soundtracks. I quite like the varied mixture of atmospheric, melodic pieces, and more rhythmic, noisier parts. Empusae is also quite good at building up the tension.

The first track, ‘Agony’, directly sets the tone with deep, noisy drones and strange, spacy sounds. ‘Out of Question’ continues with a more beat-driven sound, with machine-like hammering percussion, a few D&b beats and some more ritual rhythms, with an atmospheric, even somewhat medieval background and some distant voices. Really a fine track! Another highlight is ‘Knowledge’, with a mysterious, threatening sound and a complex electronic framework, which combines dark electro elements and a lovely, haunting melody. A very nice tranquil piece is ‘Oorlog’, with gives a very filmic aural impression. The most noisy piece is certainly ‘the binding of Destruction’, which gives you the impression that war breaks out, with marching troops on their way to the battlefield. Also quite interesting are the remixes at the end of the cd by labelmates H.I.V.+, This Morn’ Omina and Implant. The final track is a remix by Empusae of a track from Lith. Empusae convinces me with a strong and varied album, which offers a great amount of different elements to explore.

artist: Empusae
label: Divine Comedy Records
details: 14 tracks