A horrible hack

The Esoteric

With The Sureness Of Sleepwalking

Year Released: 2005
Format: CD
Label: Prosthetic
Reviewed by Kunal Nandi on Jun 13, 2007
These guys have gone about everything the right way. Bubbling under in their native Kansas City scene for well over half a decade has meant that their deadly tech-metal attack has been honed to a micron-diameter fine point. A series of increasingly good releases that dribbled out over that period came to a head with the release of last year's four-track EP '1336' (one less than 1337 geekazoids), which blazed out with some precision playing and furious anger, and most of all, a keen melodic sense that made the diamond-hardness all the more sheer since it all inexorably flowed like the Mississippi. Some patronage from fellow Kansans Coalesce couldn't have been much of a hindrance. In fact, guitarist Cory White metaphorically stepped into Jes Steineger's enormous shoes on the first (!) of Coalesce's reunion tours. And whilst we're scoring ex-band alumni points, the guy thumping the tubs here is Marshall Kilpatric, who was the drummer for 'Temple of the Morning Star'-era Today Is The Day, so he's certainly no slouch when it comes to whacking the shit out of things.

Now one genre that has grown staler than the bread in my fridge is technical metal. Wrap the mic cord round your hand a few times, slap some riffs together, jump to the non-beat, sweat from every pore without really meaning any of it and you're automatically a star. Bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan may have helped make the blueprint successful, but these are still bands that are easy to admire yet difficult to love. The number of slavish copyists (an oxymoron perhaps) toppling the bandwagon over makes it hard to take any of it seriously.

But now we have The Esoteric. A band that can take the most complex of riffs and instantly make it stick in your mind. A band fearless enough to opt for emotional impact rather than brutal technicality. A band able to keep you interested and headbanging throughout a song, aided and abetted by incredible musicianship and super-harsh vocalising. A band that whilst quite clearly being into hardcore, also display wide-ranging influences, from indie to electronica to death metal. A totally class act in other words.

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