The Emptiness (album)

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The Emptiness
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 26, 2010 (2010-01-26)
RecordedFall 2009 Orion Studios, Baltimore
Portland, Oregon
ProducerKris Crummett
Alesana chronology
Where Myth Fades to Legend
The Emptiness
A Place Where the Sun Is Silent
Singles from The Emptiness
  1. "To Be Scared by an Owl"
    Released: November 23, 2009
  2. "The Thespian"
    Released: December 8, 2009

The Emptiness is the third studio album by American metalcore band Alesana. It was recorded in the fall of 2009 and was released on January 26, 2010 through Fearless Records.[1] The album is considered a rock opera due to its in-depth story.[2] Vocalists Shawn Milke and Dennis Lee have both stated that the idea of writing an album based upon their own authored story has been present with them since the time of the band's first release, Try This with Your Eyes Closed.

Before the release of A Place Where the Sun Is Silent, The Emptiness was Alesana's best-selling album at the time, claiming the 68th position on the Billboard chart upon its release.

Background and concept[edit]

The Emptiness is the first work by Alesana to have official singles: "To Be Scared by an Owl" and "The Thespian". On November 23, after showing teaser versions of the song, the band digitally sold "To Be Scared by an Owl" on their website. The second single "The Thespian" was released two weeks later in the same fashion, shortly after the filming of its music video.[3] "The Thespian" was released shortly afterward, on December 8.[4] A music video for "The Thespian" was filmed during the winter of 2009 and was released on March 17, 2010.

The Emptiness became available for pre-order on iTunes on January 14 and the full album was leaked on January 21, five days before it released.[5] It debuted at #68 on the Billboard 200 chart.[6]

The album differs from the previous albums musically. After several lineup changes in 2009, Adam Ferguson left the band. Jake Campbell, who had temporarily replaced Shane Crump on bass guitar, joined the band as the new guitarist. Though Campbell increased the amount of dual guitars played throughout the album, he did not provide any of the vocals Ferguson previously had. However, the album features more guitar solos than their previous releases.[citation needed]

Although the previous albums have references to mythology of various cultures, The Emptiness is the band's first concept album. While touring in Europe, Shawn Milke and Dennis Lee decided to create a horror theme for their third album as well as using Edgar Allan Poe as an influence for their work—more specifically, the poem "Annabel Lee".[2] Faint references are also made in the liner notes to "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Cask of Amontillado" in that it describes a body hidden under the bricks in the main character's basement, in comparison to the heart under the floorboards and the man behind the brick wall.[1] In an interview, Milke included Stephen King, David Lynch, and the film Friday the 13th as further influences for the story.[2]

The story that The Emptiness revolves around was written by Lee and Milke. It is inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's last poem "Annabel Lee". The story is said by the band to be set in the onset of the 20th century and is expounded greatly in the liner notes album. The central character of the story, a sketch artist known simply as "The Artist" wakes up one day to find his lover, Annabel, dead, lying beside him. Heartbroken and terrified, he buries her in his basement and flees. He wanders aimlessly until he comes to a tavern, where he hears the sounds of merriment and laughter. He decides that if he can't be happy no one can and slaughters everyone in the tavern. After wandering through many places and finding Annabel's killer, "The Thespian", at the end of the story The Artist finally comes face to face with him to fight to the death. He is stabbed in his side with a dagger and finds himself in a room with Annabel holding a dagger in hand. From here on the story's point of view switches from The Artist to Annabel where she explains that The Artist had slowly been sinking into madness all this while, as he became more and more withdrawn and his sketches more and more violent. Though she loved him, in the end she had to take his life in the attempt to defend herself from him.

The track listing and album artwork was released on a bulletin from Fearless Records on, and a news post on their official site. Their tour name "You'd be Way Cuter in a Coffin" was originally the title for their first track.[7] Two string quartet compositions by Shawn Milke ("Interlude 3" and "Interlude 4") appear after tracks 6 and 10 and are available for individual purchase on iTunes.


Shawn Milke has stated that

"The Emptiness is an idea that my co-vocalist and co-creator Dennis Lee and I have had since the days of recording our first EP, Try This With Your Eyes Closed. We've spent our career thus far basing our songs and lyrics on the works of some of our favorite authors and literature of the past (i.e. stories in Greek mythology, fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm) and some chosen contemporary screenwriting (i.e. Heroes, The Princess Bride). However, even back when we first started writing together, he and I always talked about writing our own story that we could bring to life through one of our records. The Emptiness is that dream come true. Writing a story has to begin somewhere, it has to have its roots planted in some sort of inspiration. For Dennis and myself, that inspiration rested within the stories and poems of Edgar Allan Poe. In hindsight, this was a match made in heaven. Poe was a master of weaving words that could be so horrific and yet eerily beautiful all at once, and his final resting place is in Baltimore--the birthplace of Alesana and where we relocated to write this story. The Poe piece that stood out to us the most was actually the final composition ever published in his career--a poem called 'Annabel Lee.' Some believe that his wife, Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe, inspired it but that has never been verified. The key point that we found interesting in 'Annabel Lee' was its theme. It explores the death of a beautiful woman and follows the thoughts of a narrator who retains his love for her even after her death. We decided that this theme would be the basis for The Emptiness. We were going to tell our own horrific love story. We showed our love, respect and thanks to Poe by naming our female lead character Annabel, and the ninth song in the story 'In Her Tomb By The Sounding Sea,' was the final line published in the famed career of Poe."

— Shawn Milke


Professional ratings
Review scores
Rock Sound7/10[9]
Under the Gun Review7/10[10]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Shawn Milke, Dennis Lee, and Patrick Thompson except where noted, all music composed by Alesana.

1."Curse of the Virgin Canvas"4:49
2."The Artist" (Milke, Jake Campbell)3:46
3."A Lunatic’s Lament"4:05
4."The Murderer" (Milke, Adam Fisher)4:33
5."Hymn for the Shameless"5:38
6."The Thespian"4:41
7."Heavy Hangs the Albatross"3:51
8."The Lover"3:25
9."In Her Tomb by the Sounding Sea"3:41
10."To Be Scared by an Owl" (Milke, Campbell, Jeremy Bryan)4:10
Total length:49:50
Digital Editions
1."Curse of the Virgin Canvas"4:49
2."The Artist" (Milke, Jake Campbell)3:46
3."A Lunatic’s Lament"4:05
4."The Murderer" (Milke, Adam Fisher)4:33
5."Hymn for the Shameless"5:38
6."The Thespian"3:57
7."Interlude 3"0:46
8."Heavy Hangs the Albatross"3:51
9."The Lover"3:25
10."In Her Tomb by the Sounding Sea"3:41
11."To Be Scared by an Owl" (Milke, Campbell, Jeremy Bryan)3:10
12."Interlude 4"1:02
Total length:51:47



  1. ^ a b "The Rave/Eagles Club - TheRave.TV - Exclusive Video Interview - Alesana". Archived from the original on October 4, 2009. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Gregory, Burkart. "Exclusive: Exploring 'The Emptiness' with Alesana". Fearnet. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
  3. ^ Fearless Records posts on
  4. ^ Announcement on Archived March 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Fearless Records". Archived from the original on December 8, 2006.
  6. ^ The Emptiness Album Info.
  7. ^ "INTERVIEW: Alesana | Under the Gun Review".
  8. ^ "Review".
  9. ^ Kelham, Andrew (January 23, 2010). Alesana - The Emptiness | Album Reviews.
  10. ^ "Under the Gun review".

External links[edit]