Empty Chalice is a recently – very recently – established dark ambient/death industrial project from one Antonine A. This is one of the members of Gopota, whose aptly named Music for Primitive we reviewed quite a while ago. Empty Chalice is different, though. While Gopota was unrefined, filthy and had both highs of unbelievable strangeness and lows of defects, Emerging is Submerging – The Evil is far more polished and consistent in its atmospheric endeavors. That is not to say that this would be found on some dance floor or mainstream radio station, but the production and composition is comparatively neat.
What of the atmosphere, then? With titles such as “Look into my Eyes”, “Muffled Scream” and “Stolen Breaths and Destroyed Hope” it is safe to say that this moves on the deadlier side of the industrial and experimental spectrum. While there are little extra exposition available to make clear the exact intention, it is probably not too far fetched to think of True Crime, serial killers and slasher/Giallo films as at least partial sources of inspiration. In addition, “Emerging is Submerging” and “Sidereal” evoke some occult associations.
The music ties in nicely with these, or any number of closely related, themes. The first three tracks are essentially founded on droning synth and possibly sampled pads, often fairly soft and melodic. All three of them have some kind of a horror fiction vibe. The first two have the cold, inhuman tendencies of modern day horror flicks – if with a certain note of romantic darkness thrown in for good measure. “Sidereal”, probably my favorite track, strays into Gothic territory with hints of real or fictional black magic.
The last two tracks are more on the death industrial side, though the scraping metal and odd noises remain subdued even while they move towards insanity. Rattling, ominous shadows walk through the room and iron objects are abused for obscure and unknown purposes. If the first three tracks could be seen as sonic interpretations of Dario Argento and, in the case of “Sidereal”, Hammer Horror films, the last two pieces are rather soundtracks for Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Island of the Torturers” or some even more bizarre work of literary fiction. Empty Chalice has produced a nice piece of death ambient here. The tape is limited to 31 copies, but is at the time of writing still available from the label. There is also a digital download version available from the project’s Bandcamp page.