Slowly, slowly but steadily a sound rises from the deep. This sound starts up deceptively upon a lighter note, but rapidly turns into a swelling tide of massively droning guitars. Vocals are crushing in like a tidal wave, breaking with a voice as harsh and resonant as a maelstrom of grinding granite. Streams of sonic magma are constantly intertwining, twisting, melting together, then exploding into colours, forming patterns and dissolving into chaos again. Shapes, visions and scenes tumble into the mind, luring the soul out of the flesh only to take it firmly into an unrelenting musical grip and take the imagination down into a seething miasma of melancholy and pain.
Thus begins an amazing journey beyond ordinary metal conventions into “The Maniacal Vale”. ESOTERIC will grant you the sonic ride of your life – a daring exploration into the abyss, which lurks in the human mind. The English lords of psychedelic doom are tapping deep into the crimson bloodstream of subconsciousness. Their chosen path makes emotions, thoughts and personal experiences audible. “The Maniacal Vale” carries much more content than merely the significance of the sublime poetry of its lyrics. Some music still comes with a meaning and ESOTERIC present the perfect example for this seemingly old-fashioned concept. There are moments of tranquility surrounded by pounding heaviness and each song takes its time to develop. Time is what “The Maniacal Vale” demands of its listeners as this album refuses to deliver a four-minute-festival-fix, which will make them to grab the next beer. Yet valuable time is also its reward, as new fascinating details will reveal themselves with each listening.
ESOTERIC steadfastly resist the temptation of making their songs suitable to any easy listening or cutting them down to a radio-friendly scale. Their seven sinister psychodramas rather grow into epic dimensions and in fact, it takes two silver-discs to contain them. It is with obvious passion and patience that “The Maniacal Vale” was conceived. The simply stunning song writing on this album portrays all the experience and maturity of a band, which has been around since July 1992. Seasoned and honed to perfection by many a line-up change since then, continuity in ESOTERIC has always been kept safe by the core-members vocalist and guitarist Greg Chandler as well as guitarist Gordon Bicknell. Not everybody was able to participate in or contribute to the strong vision, which is driving the doom-lords, although other members than Gordon and Greg have always added to the song-writing. Yet finally, they have found a stable and dedicated line-up: Olivier Goyet on keyboards although being new to the recording process and widening the band’s sound-range has been a regular sixth member for five years now. Mark Bodossian came with his bass in April 2003, while drummer Joe Fletcher and guitarist Kris Clayton both joined in 2007.
If ESOTERIC had a motto, it would have to be: Think big! Already their first demo “Esoteric Emotions – The Death of Ignorance” injected 82 minutes of hateful – drug influenced tortured doom with a total of eight tracks. Their debut “Epistemological Despondency” (1994) was down to only six songs, but even longer and had to be released as a more than full-length double-CD. As the minute count was steadily rising, so were ESOTERIC‘s musical skills and mastery of their heavy genre gaining. “The Pernicious Enigma” (1996) brought another double-CD with nine tracks, now lasting a mind-debilitating 115 minutes.
While the English maintained their essence, this second effort proved to be more complex, sinister, intense and dissonant. At this point, the line-up changes had grown quite numerous and a permanent drummer was missing, which might explain a reduction in productivity, but not quality as the band unleashed “Metamorphogenesis” (1999), which is often described as a Mini-CD although it has a total playing time of nearly 45 minutes. Having taken their sound to even more extremes, the remaining three members in the band recorded “”Subconscious Dissolution into the Continuum” (2004) as their first release on Season of Mist. Uncompromising as ever, the trio returned with a more refined yet terrifyingly bombastic production.
Two successful European tours in 2004 and 2005 were made possible by the addition of three more musicians. ESOTERIC had meanwhile become darlings of the international press and now were conquering the hearts of the fans as well, while sharing stages with While Heaven Wept, Skepticism, Reverend Bizarre, Officium Triste, Mourning Beloveth and Pantheist to name but a few. After “The Maniacal Vale” was released in 2008, ESOTERIC continued performing throughout Europe. Some minor changes in the line-up did not change the band’s course and now the English are back with “Paragon of Dissonance”, which vocalist Greg Chandler describes as a ‘varied and diverse mix of emotions and soundscapes’.
One again ESOTERIC deliver a complex type of crushing and massive music where shapes, visions and scenes are forming an outstanding sonic chaos. Yet “Paragon of Dissonance” gives ample credit to the fact that the band continually evolves and matures in their songwriting and technical skills. Get ready for a splendid sonic ride through the limbs of doom!
Greg Chandler: Vocals, Guitars
Mark Bodossian: Bass
Joe Fletcher: Drums
Jim Nolan: Guitars
Gordon Bicknell: Guitars
Style: Doom Metal