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This is not the work of musical genius - 61%

Hate Forest, November 23rd, 2012

This is, however, very skillfully executed music in a lavish rock/metal band outfit, almost orchestral, playing endless tracks with layers upon layers of reverbing guitar strings, some synthesizers, echoes, and growls and screeches from the abyss. It all comes wrapped in excellent, clear production.

What makes one come back to Esoteric time after time, with each new album? Putting aside that silly classification funeral doom, which is nonsense, since Esoteric occupies a niche of its own, and it is not even extreme in a metallic sense.

Metal-wise, this is rather unimpressive, it is more like a mirror reflecting deranged incarnations of some early Pink Floyd (and other rock bands) now broken into smithereens, bordered by a frame of some heavy downstroke riffs, also broken.

Musical ideas, some brilliant, come and go in endless waves, layered upon each other, but hardly connected, yet held together by some plan. Not a plan of musical genius, mind you, but a very effective plan nonetheless, maybe the plan is to keep it flowing nicely, to inject some surprises only just to avoid predictability and boredom. But these are just technical aspects and would not do justice to the work as a whole.

Unlike the title suggests, the music is not dissonant. Spatially it is very consonant, often harmonic, sometimes mellow. If at all, it is the time domain in which the dissonance is executed. This is even the most listenable of Esoteric's albums so far, some tracks like Cipher could almost pass off for a radio/TV crowd.

The music flows as if it has all the time of the world to endlessly bemoan loss, valuelessness, inner disunity and conflict. There is a pervert sense of brokenness at work in the composition, and this is probably what entices the listener. It uses complex harmonic and rhythmic arrangements to build tension, only for these delicate, admirable sculptures to be crushed, but not with a 'hammer' of metal riffs (which would be silly), but rather by diverting the attention to melodic progressions that are just too odd and painful to follow in a moment of grandeur. You are taken by the scruff of the neck and dragged back over to the abyss again and again, just so you don't forget how meaningless it all was.

Maybe it's genius after all. I just gave it an ultra-low score just in case someone thought this would be of any relevance.