Esoteric - Paragon of Dissonance
Season Of Mist
Doom Metal
Disc 1: 4 songs (47:15) Disc 2: 3 songs (50:33)
Release year: 2011
Esoteric, Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Charles
Album of the month
Esoteric are pretty well known by now in certain circles, adored by the scattered denizens of doom’s more inhospitable niches as the last word in sheer sprawling madness. Their albums are daunting, near-bottomless pits of thudding, crawling funeral doom, typically lasting an hour and a half, treading that line between wallowing self-indulgence and transcendent misery. This album is not the first one of theirs that I’ve heard, but it is the first one that has grasped me so firmly in its clutches. Keeping the listener hooked for over 90 minutes is a big ask and nobody could really pull that off (at least not on someone with my flighty attention span), but hell, contained herein there are some sustained passages of magnificent power.

Length aside, it is amazing how accessible much of this is. I don’t want to suggest some major style shift here, but I don’t remember this band having quite so much melodic grace in the past. First track Abandonment opens with a sublimely shambling doom riff, but in its latter half these almost euphoric lead harmonies begin to wail to the fore, coalescing into an emotive climax which reminds me of the goosebump build-ups of someone like Pelican. Non-Being has a powerful lead guitar solo rise anthemically from behind a screen of drum rolls and hazy white noise. Later the same track morphs delightfully (but briefly) into a spaced-out Doors-like jam, with gorgeous, ambiguous tonalities delivered at a tempo cut down to the pace of treacle on a gentle incline.

That last point, in particular, suggests something that is key here. The sheer length of the songs means that they function as more or less blank canvasses. The aforementioned Non-Being is arguably the most adventurous piece here, but Paragon of Dissonance is a diverse and experimental album throughout, albeit it one in which the diverse experimentation can only be discerned gleaming out in bright reds and blues through a funeral doom backdrop of abyssal black and grey. Aberration is warped and disorientating in its opening stages, prone to jarring accelerations and decelerations. Cipher has militaristic drumming swirl together with droning harmonies, like light and dark colours bleeding into each other on a palette.

Of course, this is still mainly funeral doom. The glowering shuffle of Disconsolate, for example, is as dark, grimy and imposing as anything else I’ve heard, crashing through thudding pits and scratchy climaxes. It’s just that this- to adopt a well-worn cliché- takes you on a journey in which there is far more to see. As it all grinds to a halt in the sump of hostile noise that reverberates through the closing minutes of Torrent of Ills, you are ejected squinting into the light, after an obscure but fascinating trek through the deepest underground chasms and the surprisingly beautiful sights therein. Excellent.

Killing Songs :
Non Being, Abandonment
Charles quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Esoteric that we have reviewed:
Esoteric - The Maniacal Vale reviewed by Goat and quoted 93 / 100
Esoteric - Metamorphogenesis reviewed by Dee and quoted 85 / 100
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