Urfaust – Empty Space Meditation (2016)


Empty Space Meditation is an album for the winter months. Each song here is a demonstration of a unique and not-always metal-related style of music. Equally at home among dark ambient, black metal, funeral doom’s homophonic dirge, gothic rock, and neoclassical world music, Urfaust succeed in distilling these disparate elements into the crucible of gravitas from which good, serious, dark metal partakes of, too. The list of influences is long and storied: Lustmord, Blut Aus Nord on the first Memoria Vetusta, old Skepticism, Root‘s penchant for operatic drama, baritonic Sisters Of Mercy, and Dead Can Dance‘s effortless commingling of multi-ethnic strains, all find reference on Empty Space Meditation at one time or another. That Urfaust maintain a unique and authentic atmosphere for the duration of the album amid such colliding predilections is an achievement not to be scoffed at.

Other than the palette of colors that it offers, Empty Space Meditation is also a fine study in the art of accumulation through single-phrase repetition. Urfaust impart an unlikely momentum to their music by terminating these phrases in a perpetually unresolved register, thus creating eddies of motion. A foreseeable criticism against such an approach would be that songs have a tendency to dissolve into the aether or to simply end with no satisfactory conclusion. But it bears to keep in mind that Urfaust are not playing by traditional metal songwriting rules on this album, but instead are more concerned with weaving a coherent vision from incompatible musical techniques that are united, still, at their heart by a greater mood and ideal.


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