Originally written by Erik Thomas
I hate to further increase this site’s plethora of ‘core related reviews, but when a band features members of Coalesce (guitarist Cory White) andToday Is The Day (drummer Marshall Kilpatric), I kinda took notice and so should you. Hailing from the metal vortex known as Kansas, The Esotericplay the expected form of dissonant, jagged, post hardcore that of course shares innate threads to Coalesce but also intertwines more thoughtful and innovative ambient atmosphere to the sound.
With a fairly extensive underground discography, With the Sureness of Sleepwalking is actually the long running band’s first ‘major’ release and their experience shows on this artfully discordant and sonically challenging record. The choppy riffs and expected levels of subversive percussion all meld together to deliver a chaotic yet streamlined aura of pugilistic confidence that puts many bands to shame.
Vocalist Steve Cruz is really the band’s only truly mediocre element as his continual feral screams are adequate but don’t quite match the staggering, lurching intensity of the other musicians. For the name droppers among you, The Esoteric seem to mix Mastodon’s percussion, Coalesce andDillenger Escape Plan’s stringed assault and round it off with some soaring indie rock crescendo’s (I can’t think of any-sorry. Nin any suggestions?). Either way, the striking and genuine result throbs, pulses and staggers with a strident appeal to pretty much all forms of hardcore, metalcore and post hardcore.
“Disappearing” opens up with a false lull then a jarring blast beat followed by a typical spastic flailing and dissonance. But rather than blindly continue with their caustic noise, The Esoteric reign things in with a striking sense of melody in the form of “Ram Faced Boy” that isn’t melodic in the Shai Huludsense, but resonates with a stark mood of sober harmony within its typically angst fueled intentions. “His Eternal Enemy” returns to the deft discordance of the opener with a driving distorted opening and uber choppy main riff that sounds like a runaway train. “Your New Burden” embraces the rockier side of the band’s roots that strides confidently between sublime post rock catchiness and muscular hardcore. Good stuff.
Of course, at a base level, The Esoteric aren’t doing anything that unique considering the musical climate metal is currently mired in, but few bands can do it with the precise mix of brooding artistic clarity (album highlight “Somnambulist”, “Make Fine Dreams”) and stirring, fervent acidity (“The Curse of Greyface”, “Until the Grave Gives up the Ghost”) that makes it a boundary leaping success. Ultimately, this is the album that Miss Machinecould have and should have been if DEP weren’t so concerned with image and popularity.
For those willing to look past the obvious genre-riffic connotations of this release, The Esoteric look to be the new heralds of the genre.