Mother Destruction by Empty Chalice

Release date: March 21, 2019
Label: Toten Schwan Records

Mother Destruction is an unsettling piece of work sitting at dark end of atmospheric, freeform ambient works coming out of labels such as Cryo Chamber and Throne of Bael. It’s the product of Italian ambient artist Empty Chalice, otherwise known as Italian dark ambient, drone and industrial artist Antoine A. Others collaborated on this album, most notably Californian angsty ambient noise makers Rare Form, whose work I reviewed on this site last year, as well as Belgian musician Ashtoreth and Italian project Kurgan Hors. Sessions with these artists gave extra sounds and material that Antoine could sample and manipulate.

The haunting, formless music made by Empty Chalice is disorienting to say the least. Opener ‘Unholy light’ features a brooding drone interrupted by struck bells and other percussion instruments. These sounds ebb and flow, making it feel more like a dream state than reality. ‘Treblinka’s snow’ features the voice of Rare Form’s Thyme Nord. The samples are broken up, indistinct, obscured by the background drone. This effect of utter disorientation continues in each of the five tracks of this album. The album of conceived in winter time, and its guiding theme is the journey of lost souls who are finding their way home. The music tells a dark story, and the overwhelming impression is of loss rather than hope. Parts, such as on ‘Qua resurget ex favilla’ give the feeling of walking in a vast, echoing cathedral (this is where the Cryo Chamber comparison rings most true).

There is a place in our lives for music like this: be it the small hours, the darkness, or times when we need headspace, when it helps us to think.

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