"Paragon Of Dissonance"

By Lord Randall

‘Abandonment’ kicks off ESOTERIC’s first outing in 3 years,leaving the apathy seemingly necessary in much funeral doom out of the music, and dripping slime-like from the speakers, enveloping the listener in tones of abject dejection. The quartet has always had an overwhelming sense of the dynamic within their 
shadowed world – that Floydian sense of uplifting music carrying dark words, or 
vice versa – and the same holds true for ‘Loss Of Will’. Beginning with mesmerizing 
guitar effects, ‘Cipher’ is our introduction to new guitarist Jim Nolan, and the solo work exhibited here is nothing short of exquisite. So at home does his playing feel within the confines of "Paragon Of Dissonance" – and especially this song – that it’s hard to believe this is his first outing with ESOTERIC. Impeccable twin leads make ‘Non Being’ the true centerpiece of the album, the rhythm section as vital to the work present as any other element, both fluid as oceans and solid as the cliff sides upon which crash the waves, which happens at around 5:30, thunderous drums dragging down the soaring guitars into the forlorn middle of the tune.

Though not at all what one would term “forward moving” in the style of ‘Cipher’, Disc II’s opener ‘Aberration’ finds the foursome exploring the more, yes, aberrant realms. Part of the draw of ESOTERIC for me has always been their ability to have just enough going on subliminally to keep the listener interested, yet not so as to pull them from the sonic shroud in which they’ve been placed. ‘Disconsolate’ takes the more psychedelically inclined elements of acts like YOB and ESOTERIC’s own "The Maniacal Vale", drawing one in softly before showing him the ugly insides as opposed to hammering in the futility of existence right from the start. With the longest song bringing the entire, shuddering sadness to a close, ‘Torrent Of Ills’ is just what the name implies,sublevel plumbing the depths of pain, sickness and grief until the true finale explodes between your ears, like a dying star gone supernova in its last gasp of life.

This is ESOTERIC. This is the Paragon Of Dissonance.