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Esoteric have always been an intriguing and fascinating group of musicians with their ability to make lengthy songs that have both soul crushing and pummeling riffs along with feedback that echoes throughout eternity. The mighty and powerful vocals add perfectly to the dark atmosphere that feels either like a chaotic nightmare, drifting endlessly in space or being trapped inside the void. Throughout their entire musical span and existence, Esoteric have always made the most epic and thoroughly done funeral doom metal that has the tendency to both be ultimately frightening and beautiful in the most peculiar sense.
With their earlier work showing solid instrumentation and a unique vision, Metamorphogenesis was the album that made Esoteric get recognition as one of the most creative driving forces and distinct bands in doom metal despite being fairly obscure. Compared to other Esoteric releases, Metamorphogenesis has passages that are much more thundering, chaotic and uncontrollable compared to their later work which emphasize their unique space theme more with mellower, softer and dreamier passages.
The vocalist Greg Chandler's epic and dramatic screeches and screams really capture the gloomy and bleak atmosphere really well. At times, there is a feeling of being trapped in space or orbiting around a black hole. As a whole this chaotic masterpiece paints a dismal, yet beautiful scenery with the absolutely dramatic instrumentation and vocals. In my opinion, this was by far the Esoteric album that is the most unrefined but this is a quality that makes it stand out among their later releases. In the death metal and doom metal realm it is quite difficult to find such a good band like Esoteric that blends beauty and harshness so well together along with the mysterious concepts surrounding it.
(Originally posted by me to the Metal Music Archives: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/)
There's some changes going on with Esoteric's third album, Metemorphogenesis. One minor detail is that frontman Greg Chandler has picked up a guitar, which would become a permanent arrangement. The bigger change is that there's only one disc! Esoteric have been known for releasing two CD albums; but here, there's only one. There's only three songs, each of them getting progressively shorter in length for only 44 minutes of music. Maybe that will make this album easier to get into for outsiders.
Upon pressing play, there's one other little difference from the past albums: there's no creepy/spacey sounding intro. All the instruments and even vocals are going right from the get go at the beginning of "Dissident". Of course, we still have the same funeral doom sound with echo vocals and haunting lead guitar, but the production on this album has improved since The Pernicious Enigma. Though starting out a bit fast, the initial pace begins to slow at 3:44, eventually reaching a slow section filled with atmospheric weirdness provided by keyboard notes and ambiance that Esoteric is very well known for by this point. They play around with that mood for a good while. Around the 10 minute mark, the rhythm guitar chugging starts to progressively get faster, but there's still lead guitar and/or keys to make it sound alien. Eventually, the sped up chugging gets really, really hypnotic before it stops a little after the 13 minute mark giving way to ambiance and noise going on for the last minutes of the song.
Yep, it's Esoteric's musical mind-fuckery at it's finest, but there's still two more songs.
"The Secret of the Secret" (what the hell kind of name is that?) comes next. It starts with slower, calmer spacey guitars with the pace with 1:15 signalling the intro of funeral doom chugging. Afterwards, the next big variation comes in at 2:45 with the tempo picking up slightly and the keys and/or guitar playing a scary lead line before the riff drops and music changes at 3:20. That scary, faster music comes back at 4:50. After it goes away again, the music that comes in to replace it is silent guitar playing with noise until the funeral doom music comes back in with a more melancholic tone that is maintained for the rest of the song with something of an extended spacey guitar solo playing to amp up the atmosphere.
All that is left is "Psychotropic Transgression". Another sorrowful sounding piece, the pace doesn't change too drastically, but there is another one of those extended spacey guitar solos among all the other atmosphere until the 7 minute mark where it all begins to quiet down and slow up keeping that pace for pretty much the rest of the song. Aside from the steadily changing atmosphere from the lead guitar and keys, there isn't much changing at this point, but it's funeral doom. What did you expect?
Esoteric is moving into the modern funeral doom sound with this release, and this transitional album is really quite astounding. Obviously, it's not quite as excellent as the legendary The Pernicious Enigma, but definitely better than the still great Epistemelogical Despondancy, making Metamorphogenesis a most excellent addition to Esoteric's legacy.
What can I say about the music of Esoteric? It's extremely slow and torturous doom metal with some psychedelic moments and highly distorted growls and screams of Greg Chandler. "Metamorphogenesis" is often regarded as Esoteric's opus magnum. It's very powerful and incredibly well produced hallucinogenic nightmare of pain and misery. Filled with heavy as hell guitars, terrifying death grunts and screams, a huge bass sound and very creepy ambient passages "Metamorphogenesis" plays like a bad acid trip through subconscious realms. This album is psychotic as are the other releases by Esoteric: "Epistemological Despondency", "The Pernicious Enigma" and "Subconscious Dissolution into the Continuum". Three mammoth tracks on "Metamorphogensis": "Dissident", "The Secret of the Secret" and "Psychotropic Transgression" are totally misanthropic and supremely dark. Certainly there is no other band like Esoteric, but to fully absorb their absymally melancholic and agressive music one have to listen to it many times.
Favourite track: "Dissident"
Wait till it gets dark, sit back in your chair, turn on Metamorphogenesis and turn off the computer screen. This is what I do, and what you will soon be doing if you decide to go out and purchase this album. You will be swept away to another dimension, one of which that is darkened by a hypnotizing reality and misanthropic incantations.
Now, I'll get on to their material. Esoteric, essentially, is a very strange yet effective blend of droning guitars, deep growling vocals, keyboards, and very lucid bass tones. When all are combined a sick, droning sound is heard which is most definitely not for the faint of heart. They play as if each song is their last, drudging on relentlessly. The haunting screams of Greg Chandler and the funereal bass riffs of Bryan Beck are always there to remind you that this is not some pussy doom metal album, but the real thing. Haunting. From beginning to end.
It is typical for Esoteric's material to be substantially long, and that is exactly what they did here. Maxing at 3 songs for this album, they still have managed to steer clear of boring filler sections, while keeping their songs long. The album reaches approximately 44 minutes before the drones finally end, releasing you from your conscious nightmare.
To end this review, I was going to add a 'notable tracks' section, but since there are only 3 tracks, and all of which are exceptional, I will leave you with this: All in all, the enigma that is Esoteric has hit us again with this release, bringing unbeatable doom metal to all of its fans. This album is a must-have for ALL fans of doom metal, ESPECIALLY funeral doom fans.
Esoteric is an excellent example of a varied band. For a Doom Metal band, Esoteric can pull off things other bands are scared to do. On this album, Metamorphogenesis, there is a mix of Funeral Doom, Drone and hypnotizing guitars and keyboards. The mixture of instruments and influences really give Esoteric a spot on the map.
Esoteric are well known for there long song lengths and this album is no exception. Metamorphogenesis contains three monstrous tracks clocking in about 44 minutes. Each song is a mixture of influences and just gives you a certain feeling. The atmosphere ranges from what is being played. The keyboards aren't used to death but when they are, they enhance the atmospheric feeling. Also, what is cool with Esoteric is that their music is really varied but it always holds this one heavy guitar. For the most the guitars do anything from a melodic crushing riffs to totally hypnotizing/droning riffs. The intro to "The Secret Of The Secret" is haunting. Just that one word basically sums up the whole song. Then the songs ends off with this weird sound. The vocals range from growls, deep grunts, screams and yells. Just saying that also adds on to the fact that Esoteric are so damn good and original. The drumming is very well done for a Doom band and at times the drumming speeds up to add some dynamics to the music. For three tracks, Esoteric have made an amazing album.
Also. they have this weird feeling/atmosphere sometimes which brings more to the table. Esoteric has three guitarists and let me tell you something: they are talented! One guitar may be pulling off an awesome melody while the other two make awesome background sound. The droning is also commonly used at times in the album just to make the music interesting. Esoteric are definately a skilled band. This album brings up a little bit of each Doom Metal sub genre and then just blends together to bring you Esoteric. Overall, the musicianship is excellent.
If you're interested in some awesome Doom Metal, Esoteric is the way to go. Be prepared for a soul crushing journey through Metamorphogenesis.
Metamorphogenesis is another typical release from the great Esoteric. Only they can release a full length that only has 3 songs on it, he he. This doesn't really build up or anything on the first track, it is literally just this outburst of doomy noise, then it ironically gets slower. It is almost like track 2 should be the intro song O_o
The vocals are as droned and deeply growled as ever. With the complimentary screams in the faint background. The guitar work on the first song is very laid back, but very good. Drawn out, almost like they really want to make their songs last. The atmosphere and mood of the band really is something else. This CD (and also their other ones) TOTALLY epitomises the depth they are going with that side of the extreme. Meaning they are one of the best at being slow as fuck. The first song slows down, builds up and slows down the tempo so professionally, it is quite superb. The harmonies at the end of "The Secret of the Secret" are brilliant. The intro to "Psychotropic Transgression" is strangely beautiful but hauntingly eerie. This CD is probably what schizophrenia meets toothache would sound like, if it had a sound, I would hate to see how horridly gloomy that would look like though, he he.
Truly a magnificent CD and a magnificent Band. Go, go, go.