without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
(Originally posted by me on the Metal Music Archives: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/)
The next stop on my classic funeral doom metal tour is Esoteric. And like the other bands I've explored, this band has an experience all its own to explore. Now, if you're read my review of Skepticism's Lead and Aether, you'll recall that I thought it was interesting that there could be some short funeral doom songs. On Epistemological Despondency, you have one song that's not even three minutes; but other than that, there's some very long songs. One around 12 minutes, one around 19, one around 20, and one around 26. If that's not enough, they are split up into two different discs, which may make this album an exhausting listen. However, the separate discs aren't even 50 minutes each. Split up, it's not as an exhausting listen as it would be.
The first mammoth song is "Bereft". Some haunting sounding string pluckings are played with some droning noise fading in, then disappearing when the funeral doom metal starts. Instrumentally, the funeral doom is nothing unlike I've already experienced, but the vocal style grabs my attention. The low growls actually sound like some angry predatory beast growling at one point. The echoing effect put on them makes them even creepier, making one of the most disturbing vocals I've heard in any album ever. At 3:26, the funeral doom pace is broken by an odd section of guitar, noise, and piano getting at higher and higher keys. Screamed vocals (probably not reciting lyrics) are also thrown into the mix. This sequence goes on for five fucking minutes until the funeral doom rhythm begins to re-establish itself around the 8 minute mark. Spacey keyboards are also played at this part, but go away when the vocals start again. Around the 11 minute mark, the guitar goes off playing a few power chords played in a way in which, combined with the music, kinda gives this song a stoner feel as well. This tone doesn't leave until the 17 minute mark where a more standard funeral doom tone takes the reins one more time, and it is this way that the song ends. I enjoy my variations in music such as funeral doom, but damn! That is one scary as fuck experience!
...and that was just the first song!
Now after that, there is a shorter song, "Only Hate (Berserk)". This song seems somewhat out of place on a funeral doom album. The instruments are played in a rockin jazz meets death metal style. Vocals are the same as they were on the first song. After the first minute, there is a pretty awesome sounding guitar solo. All in all, I don't think very highly of this song, but it definitely does help make Esoteric one of the more "WTF?" bands out there.
"The Noise of Depression" wraps up the first disc. The funeral doom comes back after being interrupted by the previous song. If "Bereft" wasn't enough to describe Esoteric's atmosphere of funeral doom, you can easily tell here. It does have a melancholic feel to it, but it also seems disturbing and distorted, even spiteful. The song doesn't vary for the first 5 minutes until the lead guitar playing disappears and the rhythm changes to include some regular stops in the beat. They ditch these stops around the 7 minute mark to go to another rhythm. A noiseish keyboard sound comes in at 8:51. Rhythms change and other elements come and go such as the guitar lead around the 12 minute mark which eventually gives way to another session of creepy keyboard action. As the song reaches the end, it slows slightly more; and for one more go at weirdness, at the 18:39 minute mark a sample is played that sounds like some man-child throwing a temper tantrum. What the hell?
At this point, it is wise to take a break to avoid losing your mind. The first half of this album was without a doubt an otherworldly experience with "Bereft" being the biggest highlight.
The second disc has a noticeable stoner doomish feel to it. The first song, "Lamented Despondency", begins with a psychedelic guitar effect, and the first vocal lines are delivered without the echo effect. The echo does make it back into the music eventually though, much to my rejoice. Another cool effect comes in at the 4:52 mark with some steely effect on one of the guitars. The guitar solo at the nine minute mark also feels like it was derived from a stoner doom album. The funeral doom is still here, but this half of the album is beginning to feel like stoner funeral doom! Good for Esoteric for being more experimental.
Then, another notably shorter song to fill the gap. "Eradification (of Thorns)", unlike "Only Hate (Berserk)" is definitely more fitting to the rest of the album. It's funeral doom, but at a faster pace. High echoing effects and weird keyboard noises can be found in this. It speeds up notably at the 4:30 with some sped up riffs. As the song reaches the end, the stoner feel comes back in a lead until it goes off into a storm of confusing notes/noise to end the song suddenly in a jolt.
At long last, we arrive at the 26 long behemoth known as "Awaiting My Death". Surprisingly, there's no weird ambiance or noise in the intro. Instead, the stoner funeral doom is present right from the beginning. Spacey ambiance and weird effects on the guitar are present for a good amount of this song at the beginning giving it a more relaxing feel. I do like it, but I was really hoping for another disturbing song like "Bereft" the first time I listened to this. It's a slight disappointment, but this funeral stoner doom metal still is very worthy of listening. It eventually goes away around the later end of the five minute mark to soon be replaced by keyboard sounds and the introduction of the vocals into the music. Though not as menacing as I've said before, the music does send the listener into a trancey environment looking at stars and the like. Rhythm changes are present throughout and are most certainly welcome. What else is welcome are the other anomalies such as guitar leads, noise and keyboard ambiance.
I didn't think too highly about this album at first until I received the epiphany I got from Funeral's Tristesse. Now, I've really warmed up to this album. The two longest songs are the best with my preference leaning toward "Bereft". It's definitely an album to listen to at night, and in fact, doing so with "Bereft" was a scary experience. That is how awesome that single song is. Imagine what would happen with the rest of this album...
Although Esoteric can be very difficult to listen to with their trippy experimental sounds interspersed between a solid wall of crushing guitar riffs soaked in distortion, with persistance and repeated listenings, I have found listening to them to be ultimately a rewarding experience. Most of the songs on "Epistomological Despondency" are much longer than 10-12 minutes and require all of your attention to be able to be fully absorbed into and appreciate this phenomenal music. Each song is composed with the purpose of creating a panic inducing, trancelike, desolate, and dark atmosphere that is reminiscent of what one would probably feel if experiencing a bad acid trip while in hell. The lyrics are intelligently written with Anton Laveyian influences as well as dripping with misanthropic disgust for the human species.
The song structures are much what you would expect from a funeral doom band with its emphasis on sounding as sludgy and slow as possible while evoking feelings of melancholy and depression, but without cheesy lyrics about romance, an over emphasis on keyboards, and crooning female singers. Also, Esoteric eschews melody for an overall sound of distorted dissonance and pure aggression.
The only song that Esoteric actually speeds up on is "Only Hate Baresark" and this fast, doom sludgy tune surprisingly is only a little over 2 minutes long and is completely lost between the two monolithic songs that precede and follow it and ends up being utterly forgettable.
In conclusion, Esoteric was a delightful discovery for me, although their music is not for everyone. Uncompromising, long, extremely bizarre, trance inducing, and demanding of the listener, you will either hate them or love them, but Esoteric is for me probably the best doom metal I have ever heard.
I have been listening to Esoteric for quite some time now. Firstly with Epistemological Despondency, The Pernicious Enigma, and then with Subconscious Dissolution Into The Continuum, etc. Day after day in cold isolation and solitude, I came to realize that most funeral doom/death metal groups in the future, or any similar drone/doom/death bands that are soon to be inspired through the spiteful veins of Esoteric to this day, not very many of them will achieve or appeal as mightily stable to the authentic listeners. Those who would be displeased by near Esoteric rip-offs will see them as pseudo-satanic garage bands that will never be as original, as hateful, as intellectual, as atmospheric, as gloomily diverse, or as serious as they could carry themselves for their musicianship. Also, being a member of CoS for many years it is great to see and hear that these gentlemen attain such a taste for the Black Pope and his underestimated teachings. Whether they are doubtly inspired by LaVey or not, and as over-hyped as his church may appeal (...by the same diseased public, moronic critics, unoriginal copy cats of the loony Luciferian churches/bands, and all survived abortions that don't desirve to be in the same league...);
Esoteric brings foward the true demonic essence, the murderous cerebral flow, and the veil of darkness and maliciousness we all wear for the things we genuinely despise, from society's possessiveness through harsh control of instinctive senses to even the subtle/obvious abyssic malevolence for the crooked-minded egoists in office. Much respect is given to our brothers of Esoteric, and what they create isn't a joke or bunch of distorted noise and poor effects, nor do they care for the brainless scum that complain left and right about their work.
As proof.. I hereby quote the biggest "fuck you" statement inside the cover slip:
"Thanks: All those who have helped or supported us, we have thanked you in person.
Fuck Off and Die: Society, the monarchy, the pigs (fucking bastards), politicians, the government, all holy denominations and followers of the 'right-hand path'. Moralistic bastards, the legal system, all oppressors and authority. All of the ignorant, narrow-minded stupid humans who follow authorities without questioning. Love. All 'pretend' Satanists, who give the ignorant lease to ridicule 'true' Satanism. All bands who are 'out to put what the people like'. All the sad cunts who have turned underground music into pop-music full of clichés. All psychic vampires and scrounging wankers. All perpetrators of censorship. The Birmingham City Council and employment service.
Those that use drugs, Satanism or music as a scapegoat in order to hide their true cause of their actions - you are as weak as the Christians, you cannot fight for yourselves, so you cower in renunciation.
Those who interfere with us, beware!"
Now that you see that not even I'm not kidding, the compositions in Epistemological Despondency alone are the six doomy metallic gems enfolded by pain of, what seems to be, thousands of years of pent up rage (including the ultra-lengthy atmospheric song, Awaiting My Death, clocking in at 26:07). Esoteric in Epistemological Despondency specializes in the hazy mountainous riffs (without the fuzz, akin to Electric Wizard (another somewhat true LaVey inspired band)), empty spaces and dreamless plodding synths perfected by Gordon sided by the vicious-wedded audible bass by Bryan, and ghostly war drum beats sided with Greg's superior grim vocals. There are absolutely no horrid productivities about this album overall, but for the common Sunn0))) fan, the drums go partly unidentified (if you're that darn deaf)..because you'll learn that even Esoteric are capable to go beyond what Anderson's group could produce, with or without drums. In fact, when I bought this particular album, it seems that the "psychedelic" sticker on it could make their effort run short (In most cases you can tell the difference between the old and new of Esoteric), but that word alone would contradict everything they stated before towards drug abusers and dirty hippies alike. Not to confuse the reader, but the psychedelia isn't to be associated with Esoteric in any form; it is to be found by obvious 'stoom' bands.. and Esoteric is not, only the pure disgust and wishings of destruction channel through thier first full-length.
What comes to mind when you intake the studies and theories of the natural grounds of knowledge, and then discover the hopelessness in all feelings - the other aspectual face of the real black sheep?
(Song by song interpretations)
Bereft is a self-written epitaph for the human race that lives on lies, feeds and praises upon ingenuities, and the desire to crush Jehovah's puny skull with cloven hooves. The world lives too fast for it to even direct itself back to the blind faith it started with; the Christians killing of other's ability to live as they please has made humanity a burdening disappointment to all who die living for it. Proceeding the beginning of Bereft is the published quotation from the 18th Enochian Key, of Anton Szandor LaVey's "Satanic Bible". Whosever emotions are set on the table, this song is about overcoming by gradually accepting the true light bearer of the left-handed path, as a tool against the shackles of unfair practice.. and soon you tell yourself, "There's more to these guys?" (...good or bad reaction depending if you're patient enough for music like this...)
Only Hate (Baresark) is the shortest of all six tracks, becoming the grooviest and less harmonized piece. Fear not for it contains the most context out of all pieces. After being able to express relevant hatred toward the hypocritical establishments of Christ and buddies alike, Only Hate (Baresark) continutes to pack the punches into the herd's gut, and soon the jaded smarks and self-rightious sheep are to be beaten down in less than three minutes. "Fuck your morals I have my own mind, to decide what is best for me. You know nothing of psychology, only of fantasy, and love of order in your tidy, empty lives".. so we see they are a force to be reckoned with.
Noise Of Depression defines the aura within the questioning soul of every man, but this time Greg and the gang are able to speak on their own behaf. This is the noise that we all listen to, our dark side, our real self-conciousness and the ridiculously accused/forgived conscience, but not the inner-voice of the diluted 'higher-being'. In this hymn of hate, a haunting thud in our chest beats as we are immediatly born on eggshells, and possibly be splashed upon by piss-warmed water of tainted mysticism. This Noise only gets more apparent when touble is afoot (so if you havent noticed; the production isn't as crisp in comparison to the newer releases), but it remains inside our heads as a battered and bloodied corpse. Mirroring our own sadistic ways becomes the release to depression... the number one killer of sane persons is quite possibly.. foolishness of hope. Recovery is found yet desctruction could inevitable be found everywhere. Time to live with it, march onto the miserable doorsteps... in this depressive trance, open the gateway to all feelings, is this the patchwork and tip of the iceberg to explaining how saddened feelings really generate? Gee, not everybody interprets the world the same as you.
Lamented Despondency almost repeats the past songs and continues their deadly process. Life is a deathly dream walking to those who notice it's flaws, and death is going home. By knowing the root of every problem and what it has come to face, merely the oversight people don't face were the experiences of lost hopes. A Lamented Despondency is what the 'holier-than-thou' clones lack, yet their clouded minds believe perfection is to be found. Of distant gazes and speculations, no trance strong enough is to compare with almost nineteen minutes of constantly living through the same bottomless voids.
Eradification (Of Thorns), Dun Dun Dun!!!... are we repeating ourselves with the same words and phrases on the same tracks? Remove the thorn from the lion's paw and the revenge will be sweeter.. in other words, there's more than meets the eye when it comes to fully sitting down to this. Uber-super-heavy metalists are most likely bored off their asses by now; of this now-new-found grieving-themed doom (going to the extent of comparing work: Cervix to Saint Vitus, or another pair of incomparable sub-genres that could never meet a similarity in their contexts, but in any case this is an excellent one), and seeing that this album was released almost 12 years ago, my only words to the patient types are, get this while you have the chance. Back on track, Eradification (Of Thorns) has a rather uplifting tone and the synths arn't as creepy. Because they're starting to become more catchy as you keep listening, this track certainly hones everything down to the same eerie pulsating upheavals for...
...Awaiting My Death. From the previous track, Awaiting My Death is a near perfect counterpart, and serves well for a long/short tracklist. The guitaring stands out the most, as the vox/synth get the best out of it entirely. As another rational thought, not all drumming or production in general has to cram 398 blast beats per minute, but I am impressed by how the drumming has been consistantly slow and easy to listen to.. even 'till the end.
If you are into moody, uncaring, unearthly doom, this original Esoteric release surely makes a comfortable twisted pain apart of your life.. this is a flash of the past, and present day doesn't seem to be keeping this genre alive.. but this is how funeral/doom is supposed to be, a lone sub-genre.. so please children, leave it to the pros.
Well done, brothers! Ave Satanas!
Originally written on June 24th, 2006, by SadistAria.. and no one else!