Tuesday, May 17, 2005
What more can you say? Metal - at its best - is just that: a-w-e-s-o-m-e.
That's really the whole point, isn't it? Even if you wouldn't touch metal with a ten foot pole, you still have to bask in amazement all slack-jawed and yokel-eyed when you see The Esoteric play. Because when these guys are on, they are ON. And come to think of it, they're never really off.
"With the Sureness of Sleepwalking" is exactly the album that hundreds - perhaps thousands - of Esoteric fans have been waiting for. It's a stunning album that has been in the making for nearly a decade as the band shuffled members, graduated from house parties to national tours and sharpened its chops. It's a huge step forward from the various EPs the band has tossed off, and it's a remarkably intricate and sophisticated listen.
Still, the world The Esoteric inhabits is one that comes with a token disclaimer: "You'll like this if..." Metal is music made for metalheads, the story goes, and if you don't get it - well, you just don't get it.
Certainly all the indications of such a mentality are present on "With the Sureness of Sleepwalking" - the vocals are screamed brutally; the refrains are slippery or non-existent; and the subject matter is, well, esoteric.
But there's something about a band that plays with this much conviction that threatens to make non-metalheads - if just for a second - throw up their Satan fists in carnal revelry. And thanks to The Esoteric's reputation for being straight-up dudes with (surprise) diverse tastes in music, it's ok to geek out with them.
"With the Sureness of Sleepwalking" works because it isn't afraid to bask in its own bloated enormity. Drummer Marshall Kilpatrick may not act like a rock star demigod, but he sure isn't afraid to play like one. Neither are twin lead guitarists Eric Graves and Cory White, who dip into their thousands of dollars worth of amps and effects pedals like kids in a barbed-wire candy store. It's the sound of a band striving desperately to outrun the pack - a band that's perfectly keen on the past but intent to push the limits anyway.
So heed the disclaimer if it suits you. Just know that you're missing out on some awesome music.