Since the 1994 release of their now-classic full-length debut, Epistemological Despondency, formidable UK outfit Esoteric have never given any ground or sacrificed any of their forward-thinking, avant garde approach. Their albums — all but two of the total six are double-CDs — are massive, expansive slabs of divergent doom. They may hail from the home of the genre in Birmingham, but the only tradition Esoteric have ever adhered to is their own tradition of innovation.
Long established as an influential and guiding act for others who would be of their ilk, Esoteric return this month with their third outing for Season of Mist. Titled Paragon of Dissonance, the name could easily be extrapolated into a statement of intent on the part of the five-piece. Led by guitarist, vocalist and sole founding member Greg Chandler, the seven-song/94-minute collection not only renews Esoteric‘s spirit of willful progress, but continues their push into creative discomfort. On the verge of marking 20 years as a band in 2012, Chandler and Esoteric still refuse complacency at every turn.
And one thing about those turns: They are s-l-o-w. As much as Esoteric have maintained this musically adventurous spirit while skillfully weaving dirge melodies into oppressive, drawn-out doom, they’ve always taken their time doing it, and Paragon of Dissonance is no exception. To wit, the second-disc closer “Torrent of Ills,” unrepentantly tops 17 minutes.
In that time, Esoteric lurch their way through vivid atmospheres of wretched depression, never quite losing the sense of what also makes the bleak beautiful — at least until the destructive noise of the last several minutes rises to engulf the song, the album and seemingly everything else in its path. “Torrent of Ills” is an abyss to get lost in, and Season of Mist was kind enough to let me stream it for one week only on the player below. Hope you enjoy:
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Tags: Birmingham, Esoteric, Season of Mist, UK