Empathy Test kicked off 2023 with a headline show on 28th January at Winterwaves festival in Gothenburg, Sweden. It was only the second time Empathy Test had performed in Gothenburg. The sold out festival date also included Germany's Solar Fake and Sweden's Thermostatic, Sea Drake and Code 64.
The following week, Empathy Test flew to the UK for their first UK tour since 2019. The tour consisted of headline shows in Edinburgh, Manchester, London and Bristol, with David Leisser on drums and Oliver Marson on keyboards. Main support was Auger from Blackpool. Hanging Freud opened in Edinburgh and Magnetic Skies in London. Manchester based La Rissa were supposed to open the show at Rebellion but dropped out due to illness, as did ex Empathy Test member Samuel Winter-Quick's new band Alfie Monroe and the Hurt Boys. who were booked to open in Sam's home town of Bristol.
Due to the current climate of economic recession, cost of living crisis, and even rail strikes, expectations for the UK tour were low. However, the band managed to sell around 100 tickets on Thursday (2nd February) and Sunday nights (5th February) in Edinburgh and Bristol respectively, 120 in Manchester (on the day of a planned rail strike, 3rd February) and 220 in London (4th February).
Isaac Howlett and David Leisser returned to mainland Europe to perform a one-off headline show at Blue Shell in Cologne on Tuesday 7th February, with Nadine Green joining on keyboards. The 200 capacity venue was just a few tickets short of sold out, on a Tuesday night. The band encountered some serious technical issues caused by a rogue MIDI note in Losing Touch, but soldiered on regardless. The evening was attended by Nadine Kloppert, who wrote an in-depth account of the evening for Monkey Press.
Empathy Test then embarked on their first ever (headline) tour of France, stopping off at Rock 'n" Eat in Lyon on 9th February with support from Je T'Aime and Saigon Blue Rain, at Le Ferrailleur in Nantes on 10th February, and at La Boule Noire in Paris on 11th February with Saigon Blue Rain and The Midnight Computers. Although not hugely well attended (approximately 60 tickets sold in Lyon and Nantes and over 100 in Paris) the band returned home happy.
Following the French trip, vocalist Isaac went out on tour again, this time "solo and electronically", as main support for Aesthetic Perfection, where he performed specially prepared remixes of a selection of Empathy Test songs he had created himself. Using eight loops for each track, which he triggered using a Launchkey and Ableton live, making each of the performances unique.
The Aesthetic Perfection tour took Isaac to Berlin, Dresden, Russelsheim, The Hague (for the first time), back to Paris, Oberhausen, Braunschweig, Budapest (for the first time), Vienna, Munich and finally, Halle (Saale). In between, the full band, with David Leisser on drums and Nadine Green on keys, performed a storming set at Dark Malta on 22nd April, with Philip Frech (previously Huemer) back on the sound desk.
Over the rest of the summer, Empathy Test were kept busy with various festivals, such as a third appearance at Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig on 28th May, Black Lower Castle Festival in Kranichfeld (Germany) on 15th July and an open air event in Friedrichshafen with Diary of Dreams and Rotersand on 22nd July. Two shows with DE/VISION, one on German island Hallig Lageness and one in Copenhagen were postponed due to low ticket sales, possibly caused by Depeche Mode goping back on tour with incredibly high ticket prices.
Meanwhile, the band began announcing the first confirmed dates of the rescheduled Monsters tour of the USA, although now it had expanded to include three dates in Canada.