|For those who have looked at my reviewers profile on this site, it is not a secret that Esoteric are since long one of my absolute favourites in the doom metal genre. Together with Unholy and Skepticism they form what I would consider the 'holy trinity of doom'.|
It is therefore with trembling hands that I opened this promo package I received for review. The first thing that struck me is the extraordinary, absolutely professional packaging (in a DVD box!) and sombre yet extremely powerful artwork, probably the most effective and captivating that the band has ever displayed thus far. Add to this the extensive information in the promo sheet with coloured pictures of the album covers, the lyrics etc and you understand that we already had a winner at that stage. And this before I even came to what matters most: the music.
As usual with this band, I had to lock myself in my room and give the album countless spins to be able to fully absorb the music. I don't know many other bands whose music takes that long to grow on me. But let me tell you brothers and sisters in darkness: once it did, it didn't let me go any more...
'Subconscious Dissolution...' is the logical continuation of the sound which the band have been improving and expanding on since their demo, already more than 10 years ago now. Once again the production and song textures have become more subtle and intricate while the lyrics are more philosophical than ever. And the band has achieved all this without losing anything of their original intensity, power and misanthropy.
Quite similarly to their previous work 'Metamorphogenesis', the album consists again of three lengthy tracks which are complemented with a short outro this time. However, where the emphasis in their previous work was laid on the creation of a bombastic, hallucinogenic atmosphere, this album sounds more introverted, as if the band's enormously aggressive power has been consciously suppressed; as if the creators of this inhuman music are scared to unleash the dark subconscious powers from within themselves, terrified of the possible damage they might cause.
Opener 'Morphia' starts off - similarly to the previous album - without intros and other add-ins: it gets straight to the point with an unworldly, beautiful theme which is repeated throughout the song until the familiar chaos sets in and takes everything in its grip. The track has a strange beauty, almost Pink Floydish in its ability to take the listener to a trip in a world devoid of all limitations and frustrations of the human existence.
'The Blood of the Eyes' opens with the already classic phrase: "I have not seen myself for ages/This empty shell cares no longer for life".. It sets the mood for the track which has moved me most since Skepticism's ultimate masterpiece 'The March and the Stream'. Words can not describe the abysmal melancholy which lays hidden behind the lyrics and music of this song, it’s an experience which has to be felt. At such moments I feel privileged to be able to 'grasp' the pain and frustration laid down on these compositions. As I get shivers down my spine, I know that this is a place I've been before myself and although I don't wish to go there any more, I keep playing the track over and over again. It feels like some sort of cathartic experience, as if I'm reviving old traumas, like a traumatized child that is obsessively seeking to bring back the painful experience in its game role playing. This therapeutic effect is in my opinion the essence of dark music.
'Grey Day' is perhaps more of a 'typical' Esoteric track displaying the familiar space effects and crushing heaviness. Compared to previous works, one could say that there are less psychedelic effects in this album at first sight, a more careful observation however reveals that they are still there, but well-hidden in the background behind the massive wall of sound. It proves that a good production is absolutely essential for this unique band to be able to unleash its full potential.
All in all, and despite the lengthy review, I would say that no reviews are needed for those who already appreciate this band, as they are going to love this material anyway. For those who are not familiar with this outfit yet, I can highly recommend this album for a start, as it contains all 'classic' Esoteric characteristics, but with an increased level of subtlety and sophistication as well. You can safely say that Esoteric have influenced some bands. However none displays the same immediacy, emotional power, surprising sophistication and well-orchestrated song structures - despite the ever-present brutality and intensity.
This is only a promo, as the band is currently negotiating a label deal. Therefore it doesn’t really count as a 2003 release. However, I already know my favourite album for 2004, as miracles must happen to prevent 'Subconscious Dissolution...' of claiming this title.
2. The Blood of the Eyes
3. Grey Day
4. Arcane Dissolution
Duration : Approx. 50 minutes
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