Sunday, 12 July 2020

Esoterica "In Dreams" (2020)

Surprises come in many forms. Out of the ether emerged a name I had forgotten for many a year. Back at my first few Download Festivals I caught this band twice. Between bands I knew, I'd make sure to see check out ones I didn't. Having a strong spot on the bill of a smaller stage, yet little in the way of a crowd, they struck me as a band with a label backing them. I enjoyed their music, the antics with bringing a trained crow on stage memorable and their cover of Delerium's Silence and absolute gem! So twelve years later I've been swept of my feet by this stunning record!

Somehwat uncanny, the album's best song is another cover. Snug sweetly in the middle, True Faith originally by New Order, has a potent synth melody and sing along chorus that fits the bands aesthetic so well. The song is fundamentally different but this song writing brings so much to their thick, moody sound. Its hard to pin down, a form of artsy Alternative Rock and Progressive Metal with a dreamy Ethereal quality. The mixing embellishes this chemistry with a luscious texture, atmospheric and emotionally indulgent with melodic piano tones pinned under its dreary guitar leads.

Its a great aesthetic compliment to the singer, who performs with power and fragility in the balance as he wrestles his way through with an open vulnerability. Now with Tool in my arsenal of recognition, I hear a distinct Maynard influence in his voice as the intensity of his singing takes on similar journeys, especially on the song Letting Go. The brooding and building inline with the instruments takes us on quite the journey through the musical expression. The cohesion is impressive an often the best aspect of the songs as no instrument tries to overpower or out perform another.

With a track like Gone, Esoterica present an ear for groove and an apatite for energy that runs counter to the general tone of the record. These are mostly mid tempo songs with dreary bleak atmospheres, sombre yet gleaming with a hidden beauty in its subtle harmonies. Surges of melodic uplift in the songs peaks remind me of the parting of dull rains on a cold day, to then feel the warmth of sun and see the colors of a rainbow. They are beautifully heavy emotions finding resolve as the winds turn.

Initially I was blown away, then I was enamored. As each spin goes around a few cracks show themselves. You're Not Alone is a little to simplified with a lack of direction. Gone's punchy pop arrival doesn't stand as well with the Progressive music and I Won't Give Up On You feels a shade behind the magic that makes the rest of the songs simply cracking. I already know this is another one for years to go by and enjoy over and over. I am so very impressed by this band after so much silence!

Favorite Tracks: Breaking The Unknown, In Dreams, True Faith, Humanity, Letting Go, Hunted, The Still
Rating: 9/10