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Elsewhere in the universe - 44%

gasmask_colostomy, December 5th, 2020

You have to understand that I really wanted to like Esogenesi. After misspelling their name a few times on the way to finding the album (my brain can’t compute that the "genesi" part is a letter away from "genesis") I’ve listened to it now in several situations - napping in the car, chilling on the bus, sitting upright in bed - and it doesn’t seem to be getting better. I can think of a lot of reasons to like the debut album from these Italians, such as the nicely weird cover art, groaning bass picking, and the fact that Transcending Obscurity is a very reliable label, but none of them have translated into interesting music that keeps my attention. Even the bandname should be a neat hook, seeing as exogenesis is the theory that posits life started somewhere else in the universe before arriving on Earth.

Unfortunately, the playing and arrangements can’t translate much of that appeal to the album’s most important content. My biggest issue must be how aimless a lot of Esogenesi sounds, wandering around an array of clean guitar sections, crawling doom death riffing, and slightly lighter atmospheric material. That kind of diversity usually encourages me, yet here I’m under the impression that the band established a rule when recording: no 3 sections of a song can flow logically from one another. The frequency with which the quartet abandon one idea and head in a totally new direction baffles me completely, dropping out of steady grooves into stagnant clean playing or suddenly beginning a section of slow chords after building momentum with chugging riffs. For a band with long songs, it’s not an issue to change direction and keep things moving, though what Esogenesi do is to the detriment of the music, as progress feels wasted when each movement is so randomly discarded.

Compounding this situation, the songs themselves just don’t contain many great ideas. The sonics of the album aren’t exactly arranged for impact, drums lurking low under broad mids-heavy guitar and rarely driving the tempo beyond a crawl, while the vocals remain a deathly growl that occupies a similar range to the guitar. Funnily enough, the bass enters the higher frequencies the most, a soft pinging rising from the clean interludes and also from ‘Esilio nell’Extramondo’ when the closing section finally adds a solo (yes, a bass lead) to an existing movement. However, you’ll note that the sound of Esogenesi is rooted almost entirely in low pitch, meaning that except during clean sections all the action is concentrated in one area. That would be fine with some powerful riffs or a few out-there guitar leads, but again we get too few of the former while the latter feature is conspicuously absent. Closing track ‘Incarnazione della Conoscenza’ at least offers a few more motivating riffs, though it’s too little too late.

I’m disappointed that no one noticed how boring Esogenesi sounded before releasing it, since I can think of a couple of ways to improve it. Starting with the mixing, and then working on finer control of transitions, the Italians might have a chance of producing something decent in the future, although I hope that they also think of some stirring songs too. Otherwise, I’m tempted to conclude that life started elsewhere in the universe and hasn’t reached this band yet.