Esoteric - Metamorphogenesis
Eibon Records
Funeral Doom from Hell
3 songs (44 Mins)
Release year: 1999
Esoteric, Eibon Records
Reviewed by Dee
Archive review

Esoteric are a five piece funeral doom band from England who specialize in long, tormented slices of ponderous metal. Unlike many doom bands, they choose to overwhelm the senses instead of to deprive them. As a result, their sound lacks the traditional depressive element and does not evoke a funereal air so much as it transfers you straight to an imperfect, hellish afterlife.

Their releases are never accompanied by lyrics or information about the band; that's for you to work out, of course. They have stated in interviews that such inclusions would be a distraction from the music; if you were to listen to the album while examining the liner notes, then your mind would still be concentrating on this world instead of the one in which the band intends to lose you.

The first track, "Dissident", begins suddenly, with every member of the band simultaneously contributing to an infernal burst of noise. However, this is not a brief fanfare - the intensity remains after your ears have become accustomed to the dissonance. You realise that the band proposes to maintain this level of diabolical heaviness throughout the length of this seventeen minute dirge, and what is doubly astounding is the fact that there appears to be a song buried in these reverb-drenched arcs and wails. The vocals here are composed of resentful growls, whispers and the occasional howl; soft enough for the lyrics to be discernable although the heaviness of the atmosphere does not deign to allow you to remember them.

To me, this song casts the image of a volcano; I liken the layers upon layers of echoing sounds to the heat haze rising from the lava which is in turn derived from the deepness of sound and the liquid tempo of the song. The last three minutes of the song are reminiscient of a sacrifice being cast into the flames; the body sinks slowly, the hearing fails and the flesh is incinerated leaving a bleached skeleton of the original song. No doubt each of us will have our own interpretation.

Next up is "The Secret of the Secret" which opens in a rather more romantic way; melancholic guitar notes ring out, chosen from major-minor chords over a slow 3/4 melting lament, painting a picture of regret rather than anguish. The procession of jangling guitar chords is most discomforting, hinting at familiar patterns only to snatch them away, stranding the listener in unfamiliar territory.

Finally, "Psychotropic Transgression" arrives. Composed of a thinner and less menacing sound, this final track initially interferes with your understanding of rhythm by subtly dropping beats, masking these gaps with a languid progression of gloomy yet romantic chords. It's strange that the monotone growling here seems so beautiful; indeed, the vocals are probably the heaviest element in the band's sound. After the rhythm tricks become too perceptable, the song transforms itself, somewhat resembling the previous track although the guitar builds to stronger emotional peaks.

This is certainly metal. However, if you consider the excesses of NWoBHM to be steel, then Esoteric is unquestionably lead; with all the shiny, heroic elements stripped away, this is what remains.

Killing Songs :
Dee quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Esoteric that we have reviewed:
Esoteric - Paragon of Dissonance reviewed by Charles and quoted 90 / 100
Esoteric - The Maniacal Vale reviewed by Goat and quoted 93 / 100
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