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The Esoteric – With The Sureness of Sleepwalking

The Esoteric is probably a good name for this band. They sound like something otherworldly and vaguely elitist, though I’m sure they hope not to be just “confined to a small group.” So they get 10 points for use of a good word for a band name, but minus five points for trying to make it into a noun. Why must band names have a “the” in front of them, anyway? Now it sounds more like an incomplete sentence than a name. The Esoteric…squirrels?


Anyway. I’ll put away my English degree and talk about what really matters–the music. It’s got metallic and occasionally industrial-sounding instrumentation and intricate structures coupled with a faraway rasping voice that sounds like the singer lost it days ago but is still trying to scream out all his anger and pain. Some songs pound and others turn dreamy, with ominous guitars and ponderous drumming.

The Esoteric are almost too deliberate for me to call them a hardcore or metal band–every sound seems thought out, every song perfectly engineered, none of the beautiful wreckage, loss of control and cathartic mess that we expect from punk-influenced bands. Particularly with the vocals sounding so far off–it’s hard to tell whether they just liked the effect of the singer sounding like he’s across the room from the band, or perhaps they just wanted to play up each perfect guitar lick and drumbeat.

They’re definitely hard, though; ghostly and haunting with poetic lyrics. Even their CD artwork is morbidly beautiful. I think perhaps they’re laboring just a little too much under the weight of their own artistry.


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