A slew of new Covid-19 restrictions were introduced in Germany and much of Europe in early 2021 which meant another blow to Empathy Test's touring schedule. The German Monsters tour was again postponed, and this time the dates were put back to, and spread throughout, 2022. Isaac concentrated on building his new life in Linz, Austria, where he had moved in August 2020, while the rest of the band also concentrated on other things, back in London.
On April 2nd 2021, Empathy Test met briefly in London to take part in a live streamed headline concert. The concert was hosted by Hotel Radio, at The Camden Underworld, where the Monsters album launch had been scheduled to take place the previous May. The online concert was watched live by over 200 paying fans and raised some much needed funds for the band. A track from the performance, Holy Rivers, was also donated to the online festival of the Gothic clothing label, Gothicat Festival No.6.
At the beginning of October 2021, Spanish actress Ester Exposito, who starred in the Netflix show Elite, personally requested that Empathy test's song Losing Touch be used as the soundtrack for a short film inspired by early '90s Dolce & Gabbana advertisements. The video was shared via Ester's Instagram account, where it has been watched over 11m times. Fashion Gone Rogue Magazine described Losing Touch as "the perfect accompaniment" to the sensual imagery.
In October 2021, the band were booked to play at a new festival, Eastside Open Air in Halle, Germany, which was set up by Jan Winterfeld, Empathy Test's German booking agent. The day after, the band was also booked as a headline act at Prague Gothic Treffen in Czech Republic. An interview with Isaac was published by Sanctuary on 8th October 2021, where he discussed "the aftermath of Covid and Brexit, claustrophobia, and positioning [Empathy Test] between [music] scenes", found him to be "cautious but optimistic". He was right to be cautious; Eastside Open Air was then postponed until July 2022.
Faced with the huge costs of providing multiple Covid tests for both UK band members to fly over for Prague Gothic Treffen (PGT) and back again, then back again the next weekend for two shows supporting DE/VISION, Chrisy suggested the band find a drummer in Germany or Austria to fill in for her, while she took some other drumming work she had been offered in the UK. This would sadly be the beginning of a slow exit from the band for Chrisy.
Isaac contacted Austrian drummer David Leisser, who had previously played drums for Those Goddam Hippies, a British/Austrian band that had supported Empathy Test in Dresden, back in 2015. After a spell in London working full time as a session drummer, David had returned to Vienna after Covid-19 decimated his schedule, and was available for drum work.
David Leisser learned 16 Empathy Test tracks in just 10 days. When the band met in a rehearsal at Kapu in Linz organised by new friend, local musician and sound engineer Philip Frech (previously Huemer) a couple of days before PGT, David played all of the tracks perfectly.
Oliver stayed at Isaac's apartment in Linz while rehearsing for PGT, during which time the pair recorded an improvised acoustic set for StayInfest - an online edition of the annual alternative Infest music festival in Sheffield, UK. The 25 minute set featured Fear of Disappearing, Skin, Doubts, a medley of Here is the Place and Hope for Me, and Stop. The performance was broadcast on the same day as the band performed in Prague.
Reflections of Darkness seemed to be everywhere Empathy Test was in 2020 and 2021, with reporter Karo Kratochwil reviewing their performance at Prague Gothic Treffen. "The show in Prague," she wrote, "was one of the first to see the band playing live again, and I am happy to inform they are in excellent shape".
Also in attendance was death-rock.de, who, as the name suggests, were not entirely Empathy Test's target audience but were presently surprised by, and complimentary of the band's performance, particularly that of new drummer David Leisser. Leisser, they wrote, "gives the songs that decisive extra pressure and bridges the gap [from Synthpop] to indie rock".
Empathy Test were then informed that Steffen Keth, singer of DE/VISION, was ill and would not be able to perform at the next two shows in Hannover and Gelsenkirchen. It was easy enough to convince Kulttempel Oberhausen owner and co-promoter in Gelsenkirchen, Peter Jurjahn, to agree to move Empathy Test up to the headline slot. The promoter at Acht&Siebzig was a little harder to convince. However, he finally agreed to allow Empathy Test to headline and the band and audience certainly did not disappoint. The turn out was excellent and Empathy Test were on fine form.
They provided their audience with a three set performance, Isaac performing some songs solo and acoustically, including his cover of Tears for Fears' Mad World before being joined by Oliver for four "electronic" versions of early tracks like Kirrilee and Holding On. David Leisser then joined them for the main set, kicking off with Monsters.
The weather was perfect and the outdoor stage added a little something extra to proceedings. The band repeated the performance in the circus tent at Gelsenkirchen the next night and some fans who were at both shows said they even outdid themselves.
The next time the band would grace the stage would be at F.A.M.E in Poland, where other acts included Covenant and Eisfabrik. The band, with Oliver Marson on keyboards and Chrisy back behind the kit, again impressed their audience with an energetic and passionate experience, with local website muzobar.pl remarking that "Empathy Test, as predicted, stole the show".
The next show was a one-off headline show in the band's home town, London (UK), on 15th October 2022. Empathy Test sold over 200 presale tickets without announcing any support bands, at a time when the live music industry was still reeling from the effects of Covid-19. Philip Frech was flown over from Austria to run sound and Chrisy was again back on drums.
On 29th October, Empathy Test performed for a second time at Plage Noire Festival in Northern Germany, where they headlined the third stage on Friday evening. The venue was at full capacity and a portion of the audience had to watch the performance via screens outside. The next day, Empathy Test performed on the main stage at Sinner's Day in Belgium, on the same day as Gary Numan. Both performances featured Chrisy on drums and Oliver on keyboards.
On November 5th 2021, Aesthetic Perfection released Save Myself, a collaboration with Empathy Test's Isaac Howlett. Isaac co-wrote and co-sung the song with Aesthetic Perfection's Daniel Graves. The song formed part of Aesthetic Perfection's 12 Songs in 12 Months project and Save Myself went on to be released on the resultant Aesthetic Perfection album MMXXI.
Empathy Test's final show on 2021 would be with Diorama, Zweite Jugend and Visions in Clouds at the Schwarze Ball in Zurich, Switzerland on 11th December. David Leisser was back on drums, with Oliver Marson on keyboards.