Halalnihil – Empathy Devourer (3″ CD-R, Ikebukuro Dada)

Halalnihil is a noise act from Hungary. The sound lies somewhere in between grindcore, black metal, and power electronics, although to be honest it’s difficult to say where those paths diverge on Empathy Devourer. At only 11 minutes, the mini-CDR is something you might expect out of a DIY grindcore band; the majority of “songs” last about half a minute and the rest sort of sprawl until they’re cut off. Over the noise Halalnihil lends a throaty scream, with Hungarian vocals which he has kindly translated on his blog.

What ensues on Empathy Devourer is a combination of noises, many of them rather similar to each other in a way that makes the disc blend together into an indistinct jumble. Opener “Crush Useless Whore” and then “Belső Rendőr Megölve” feature a chaotic, almost indistinguishable blast beat from a drum machine, which could be interesting if it wasn’t overused throughout much of this release. Because “Magzat Massgrave” is effectively structured exactly the same, as though a helicopter was fluttering just outside Halalnihil’s recording room.

What’s more is that Halalnihil populates his noise with little more than repetitive, mostly unchanging lines of static, feedback, or buzzing. And when it all comes together in a track, it’s difficult to separate one from the other and instead everything mushes together. But it’s not one of those times where the track seems to blend seamlessly; instead, it just feels messy and uncalculated.

The best moments on Empathy Devourer are when Halalnihil drops his shtick: the end noise of “Empathy Devourer”, the track-long sprawl of “Your Positivity is Worthless”, which actually takes its time without rushing through the same blast beat sound.

There’s enjoyment to be had here, but the fleeting kind of recognizing that what you’re listening to is really just an amalgam of sounds put together to form a short wall. And they don’t meld that well, giving everything a muddy quality that isn’t so much harsh as it is unmemorable.


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