Stortregn‘s 2016 record Singularity starts with this friggin’ solo. First one guitar, then the second chiming in. Very unusual for the genre they so avidly depict. But this … thing juicily draws you in, a magic metal pull. And down you go through the rabbit hole, where overheated amps shred a growling sound made for the true metalhead. Such stellar beginnings and the ensuing performance will be very difficult to beat on the next record.
So, with some trepidation the RockmusicRaider crew stood in waiting for this new offering from the metal hotheads of Stortregn. Will Emptiness Fills The Void surprise or will it just fade down through the proverbial cracks?
Well, first of all, you can turn off the alarm bells. Emptiness Fills The Void will definitely be worth your reckoning. Although, you will not find anything breathtakingly new in style or structure. In other words, the band kind of takes off, where they left their instruments rest in Singularity.
Yet, what WILL take your breath away is the exquisite intensity of the riffs and the super fast solos, and the outstanding technicality of their offering. And this starts with the first track Through the Dark Gates. Holy. Fucking. Cow. What a track! Stortregn for sure waste no time on loads of intro-ish shenanigans. A trifle acoustic hors-d’oeuvre and off they go into the metal nirvana main course. So, to answer the question above: No, you’ll not get the solo fest like at the beginning of Singularity. But they’ll knock you off your chair straight instead with a friggin’ metal attack. Just juicy.
Their thrashy brand of Blackened Death Metal just continues to converge on metal ground zero at lightning speed with Circular Infinity and The Forge. With a whirlwind of outstanding guitar prowess that is hard to find these days. In a way, Stortregn‘s style finds some similarity with Arch Enemy. Only the latter lately produced a load of weakened steel, instead of a much more potent brew they would surely be capable of.
But back to Stortregn: If anything negative can be said about Emptiness Fills The Void, then it is the fact that you need high-end equipment to really enjoy the nuances. The band’s intense play just risks to overwhelm any low-intensity boom box. Oh, and apart from the fact that their tune risks to burn your ears off, too. So, consume with moderation, will ya.
Okay, and the Chasms of Eternity should probably have been thrown into that very same abyss, never to be seen again. But then, it is perhaps my metal-tuned ears that don’t want to adapt to such devilry. Still, I grudgingly grant them – yet again – a prize for outstanding guitar play, even for such a dud.
You’ll find new brilliance in Nonexistence, too. At first the track does not impress, but I’ll forever get a kick out of the change in tempo in the last third. The way the song solemnly marches forward, fueled by stately guitar work just takes the cake.
Lastly, the seemingly extensive length of Children of the Obsidian Light filled me with foreboding at first. Yet, once you get into the groove, these concerns will evaporate like so much water on red-hot lava. The real delight will reach you towards the end, where they produce a stellar dual solo that just got on the good side of me.
Now, it is high time to end this review in style, or the fanboy-ism will reach unstoppable levels. Emptiness Fills The Void definitely is a case for the metal connoisseur. And for those, who want to get there, of course. Super hot and highly intense, Stortregn will take you on an extensive, wild ride that only stops once you consumed it all. Because a maelstrom of endless guitar delights will just swallow you and only spit you out once silence reigns again. After 41 minutes of lava hot intensity.
Stortregn just displayed outstanding musicianship taken to the next level. I am truly impressed.
Emptiness Fills The Void airs on 25 May 2018.
[Editor’s note: The album successfully made it onto the 2018 Top 10 Records list. Congrats!]