Esoteric
Paragon Of Dissonance


4.0
excellent

Review

by DarkNoctus CONTRIBUTOR (40 Reviews)
May 24th, 2012 | 33 replies | 4,005 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: a paragon indeed.

As one of the leading and most consistent funeral doom bands from the 90's, it seems only natural that Esoteric will one day falter. They came close with their fourth album, Subconscious Dissolution into the Continuum, which played out as a very samey and derivative record in many ways, but somehow still managed to pull out a record at least above average, sometimes bordering on the greatness Esoteric have established over the years. But that is as close as they've ever come, and with Esoteric's latest album Paragon of Dissonance, it looks like it might be a long time yet until that reality will come to pass. Make no mistake, despite Paragon of Dissonance not quite being the brilliance that this band have been known to achieve, it is a truly excellent album and a stellar addition to an already unbelievable back catalog of absolutely superb albums. It's an ambitious, consistent absorbing experience from start to finish - well, mostly. Where the quality of the material here never hits the mark of the best material that this band have set before, this is perhaps the most consistent album they've done yet, just about every track being as good as the last, guaranteeing you a positive experience if you enjoyed one track.

Not only that but Paragon of Dissonance doesn't try to re-create any aesthetic the band have performed before. Yes, the staples of Esoteric are definitely here, thank goodness - but Esoteric deliver them in a different tone. This record, far from the suffocating and warm nature of The Maniacal Vale, offers a much clearer and cold tone, the clarity and cleanliness of the mix shining through very strongly. In many ways this would turn an avid funeral doom listener off, or at least those who were intoxicated by the suffocating nature of the band's previous albums - me included. But Esoteric have a way of making it sound heavy and pummeling nonetheless. Far from Ahab's attempt at a cleaner sound, Paragon of Dissonance is a leviathan of both proportion and sheer sound. But it's a different kind of heaviness, a heaviness accentuated by the change in songwriting. Just about every track on Paragon of Dissonance rely on some of the most satisfying builds and climaxes that this band have ever performed. Far away from the continuous crushing wave that is The Pernicious Enigma for instance, Paragon of Dissonance is far more dynamic - almost inhaling and exhaling at every given opportunity like a breathing entity. The last album hinted at this, but this album builds every composition based on it, being successful most of the time.

Starting at the very beginning, the latter half of the first track "Abandonment" is a fantastic example of where this works brilliantly. The brilliant and captivating lead guitars that Esoteric have made into one of their leading instrumental trademarks are here in full force, and used in a way that makes the builds both sound unique and captivating. They layer on and on until we have a thick mix of tension and rising dynamics until one of the most satisfying moments of Esoteric's career simply explodes from the tension they built so well - the heavy, energetic and pummeling climax ringing out for a good couple of minutes until it dissolves into a wave of noise and static. Though perhaps a better example of where this works the best, it certainly isn't the only one - tracks like "Non Being" being similarly as satisfying before turning into a cryptically slow and fairly crushing funeral doom epic right after for more or less the remainder of the song. This building/exploding idea is the most prominent songwriting technique displayed in the second disc entirely, each piece here ascending and descending several times in their lengths - all of these pieces around the 15 minute mark leaving plenty of time to captivate you, and it will.

It is definitely true, however, that none of these brilliant moments quite hit the brilliance of Esoteric's past works. The bone-chilling transition from the sample to the crushing wave of doom in "Allegiance" from their early days, or the quite frankly amazing build at the beginning of "Circle" from the last album. That's not to say there's a bad track here, there isn't - every track here has its merits and is excellent in its own way. The pacing of this album only accentuates the brilliance behind it, too. Rather than an album with scattered moments that hit you hard, this album is an experience that you get lost in due to its consistency and control. It's obviously a help that all the performances here are just as good as they've always been - the vocalist Greg Chandler delivering an evoking yet atmospheric performance of his powerful yet oddly airy vocal style. His range is as impressive as it has been over the past few albums, perhaps better - perfectly transitioning between screams and growls that have their own unique and signature sound and adding a whole new shade to the overall mood. His voice alone is truly an asset to the band, not to mention his guitarwork, honestly coming across as one of the best frontmen in doom metal - period. The best bit is he doesn't overshadow the talents of the rest of the band, the bass never being too low or too far from hearing range, the drums knowing just what to do and just at the right time. Every moment here polished to perfection, intricate and atmospheric, both in equal measures.

But for me, at least, the lack of the suffocating and crushing atmosphere holds me back from holding this album as one of their best, despite everything about it being excellent. That definitely isn't to say it's a step down, far from it and quite the opposite. Paragon of Dissonance is an experiment gone right, despite abandoning what is considered to be one of this band's saving graces, still coming out with something distinctive, impressive and refreshing at the same time. It's such a relief to see a driving force behind funeral doom's conception still innovating nearly 2 decades on, the quality coming before all else. There aren't many bands out there who could ever hope to match Esoteric's discography, and this album only serves to solidify that fact - and even that is a formidable feat. The paragons of their trade, Esoteric keep on delivering - let's hope they don't plan on stopping any time soon. :]



Recent reviews by this author
Lethian Dreams Red Silence LodgeAlcest Shelter
The Howling Void NightfallGod Is An Astronaut Origins
Astronoid StargazerSaor Roots
user ratings (101)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
JohnJerk (4.5)
An album that will make your ears bleed and make you not care about it at all....

GodL1ke (4.5)
Another quality release from the leaders of funeral doom? You bet your ass....


Comments:Add a Comment 
DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
May 24th 2012



8780 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

very high 4, wanted to write this for a long time. i know there are other reviews, whatever :] criticism please!

CaptainDooRight
May 24th 2012



28804 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Wasn't expecting a review from you for this but cool. I really enjoyed this album. I'll try to read your review soon to see what you thought of it.

Digging: Tukaaria - Raw to the Rapine

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
May 24th 2012



8780 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

why not? they're one of my favorite bands! [:

CaptainDooRight
May 24th 2012



28804 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Not really sure. Just thought it was interesting. Maybe cuz it's so last year and had two revs already jk

Any plans for a Meniscus rev

Acanthus
May 24th 2012



9537 Comments


Really good review sir, if I was in the mood for some doom I'd definitely give this a go.

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
May 24th 2012



8780 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Any plans for a Meniscus rev


might do that one of these days [:

also thanks acanthus! it's worth a shot if the mood ever strikes you, along with well, every esoteric album

CaptainDooRight
May 24th 2012



28804 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Just finished your review. T'was excellent. Doesn't it suck that we expect bands overtime to falter. I really liked the cold nature in this that you speak of and feel they pulled it off quite well. Here's to hoping these guys never waiver. Pos

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
May 24th 2012



8780 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thank you! yeah they definitely pull it off brilliantly, but i much prefer a warm sound to a cold one, like on their last album. not disappointed at all though. :]

CaptainDooRight
May 24th 2012



28804 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I feel ya. I love their whole discography and enjoy trading them off over each other every so often.

Damn talking to you makes me wanna jam Oran Moor

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
May 24th 2012



8780 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

everything all of the time!! :]

LoneWanderer
May 24th 2012



180 Comments


I've been expecting that summary to pop somewhere ever since I heard the album name...:]

Neat review..pos'd

Piglet
May 24th 2012



4653 Comments


this band is brilliant, nice write-up!

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
May 24th 2012



8780 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

darknoctus you're such a good writer


r-really?? :]

also thanks everyone!! [:

Shuyin
May 24th 2012



11465 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nah you suck, anyway album rules.

Digging: Integral - Sercosa

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
May 24th 2012



16309 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review man, glad you decided to write something about this. "Non Being" is monolithic.

Digging: Ulver - Bergtatt

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
May 24th 2012



8780 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks crysis, yeah i read the other two reviews and neither of them really mentioned what i think is this album's most prominent change from the last albums, and i thought it needed a detailed write-up. non-being is one of the better tracks here definitely with abandonment and disconsolate :]

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
May 24th 2012



8780 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Far from Ahab's attempt at a cleaner sound, [i]Paragon of Dissonance[i] is a leviathan


crap

hope they fix the site soon so i can edit that ]:

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
May 24th 2012



8327 Comments


Good review noctus. This album is definitely solid, but it's just so damn long that I don't find myself spinning this too often.

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
May 24th 2012



8780 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

maybe it would help if you just played one disc at a time? they play pretty well as single albums, the second disc in particular playing out very much like metamorphogenesis which is a fantastic album. thanks though!! :]

ValeriusTheAlbino
May 24th 2012



158 Comments


boring album is boring



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy