Esoteric
A Pyrrhic Existence


4.5
superb

Review

by Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (301 Reviews)
November 18th, 2019 | 159 replies


Release Date: 11/08/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A new plane of existence.

Doom metal has always had the preconception of slow compositions, lumbering chord progressions and gut-wrenching low growls. When you couple that with some lengthy track times, overarching themes and a tendency to take metal’s stereotypes and slow them down to the nth degree (without getting into the specifics of drone music) you can begin to understand why the genre has such a selective fanbase. Despite the genre’s Sabbath-incepted perception there’s individuality that sets one act apart from the other - whether it be the Saint Vitus or Candlemass offerings rooted in blues rock or the death doom of more modern acts such as Mournful Congregation, who leaned on the more depressive moods and grieving dirge-like atmospheres. The doom genre (especially that of funeral doom) showcased a level of musical extremity that didn’t need to incorporate faster tempos to convey emotion or story. A band’s niche sound was only defined by where the act itself wanted to take their music and by how much they felt they conformed to the guidelines set before them.

Esoteric are particularly formidable when bringing in the fundamental assets of such a niche soundscape and combining them with progressive musical traits and genre-bending rituals. The band’s last export, Paragon Of Dissonance is a swirling monolithe of funeral doom metal, molten in its movement into ungodly heavy territories, but it never stayed in the genre’s more comfortable compositional tropes. Instead, Esoteric gave life to death, black metal and elements of post metal which shaped a revitalised sound. This year, Esoteric’s newest follows similarly in the path of its predecessor; reaffirming the vitality of a genre. It’s a given that A Pyrrhic Existence doesn’t re-invent the world of doom, but rather brings some tried and true elements (particularly of death metal) into a glorious culmination of top-tier doom music.

The album’s opener sets the tone for Esoteric’s seventh full-length, but it’s somewhat ironic that “Descent” is a twenty-seven(plus) minute [quality] crescendo into one of the year’s better records. Slow brooding chords ring into rolling drum beats, while being juxtaposed by a warning, sticking atmosphere. Esoteric paint a portrait of sinister overtones that remain pensive while they build towards gentle melody and yet it’s the track’s bleaker, more minimalistic moments that draw the listener in. It’s Esoteric’s ability to meld moments of disquiet and uneasiness into larger portraits of melody, intertwining intense heaviness with surreal harmony that carries one display of compositional anxiety well into the rest of the album. Similarly, “Rotting In Dereliction” tumults into a world of dissonant doom trappings, helping reinforce the band’s somber, but forward moving genre bending that lives in a world of decay, dissent, anguish and eventually, the schmaltzy ambiance of “Antim Yatra” in which Esoteric dial back the sheer intensity but add an almost relaxing reprieve from their sonic landscape.

It’s short-lived, as A Pyrrhic Existence reaches into the chasm again for it’s second half. Sure, the fact that Esoteric’s seventh full-length broaches over one-hundred minutes of run-time may be a drag [read: turn off] for those less inclined to embrace the bottomless atmosphere often associated with funeral doom. But when considered in regards to the rest of the genre, the patience is well-rewarded with some of the genre’s better exploits this decade. Notes of distortion and delay awaken the album’s second disc, “Consuming Lies” is as masterful as the opener, combining an increased melody with subtle leads and ever powerful vocals, but the track itself is at a different tempo to those that came before it. The build of “Consuming Lies” musical crescendo defies forgetfulness, sticking with the listener throughout the album’s hour and forty minute run. The album’s closing piece, “Sick and Tired” culminates everything before it into a ambrosial, sixteen minute summary. Feelings of hope meld into psychedelia and wistful melancholy, but it stays stylistically true to the massive compositions before it.

The whole of A Pyrrhic Existence’s portrait is a massive undertaking, rewarding those listeners with patience and keen ear and the canvas of its sound takes on new light depending on the moods associated with it. Moments of bleak emptiness are often met with thick colours of neutrality, but their musical lines stand clear and reaffirming. A Pyrrhic Existence exists on a plane to which only a few groups have reached. With their 2019 effort, Esoteric not only keep funeral doom alive, but also reaffirms the genre’s undying vitality.



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user ratings (91)
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
November 18th 2019


10862 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Stream/buy/fap below:



https://esoteric.bandcamp.com/album/a-pyrrhic-existence

Azog
November 18th 2019


263 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This. Is. The. Shit.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
November 18th 2019


10862 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

You should comment more dude, just so I can keep seeing that Av

DDDeftoneDDD
November 18th 2019


8888 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I was waiting for the review to 5 it. I love you more now too. Tks a lot...



Will read it after finish this ikea furniture and make dinner (cause Im a bad ass)



This. Is. The. Shit. 2





Digging: Krypts - Cadaver Circulation

Thalassic
November 18th 2019


3654 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yep. This is definitely a yep.

DDDeftoneDDD
November 18th 2019


8888 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Culmination of Culmination is the best Culmination that was and will ever be m/

Supercoolguy64
November 18th 2019


9137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this got revd finally insta posd

Azog
November 18th 2019


263 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

May 5 this over time, depending on replay value. But for now, a 4.5 will do.

DDDeftoneDDD
November 18th 2019


8888 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

True Azog...lets see how this holds...I just can t stop listening to it...heading to 6/7th listen...backlog is growing lool

ComeToDaddy
November 18th 2019


1808 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review for a great album, pos'd in spirit.



Surprises me you touched on every song but Culmination, even after some of the noodling on Paragon the wonky solo around the 6min mark of that track came right out of left field for me. Descent is an absolute monstrosity, definitely one of their best tracks.



Despite the death metal focus there's a lot more empty space on this album compared to Paragon which I like, while I adored that album it was always working towards a huge riff or sweeping melody or something which could make it tiring to get through. This one has a lot more downtime between passages which helps with it's replayability, even if it leads to a few less standout moments. Either way, what an absurdly, consistently brilliant band

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
November 18th 2019


10862 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Surprises me you touched on every song but Culmination




Guess I didn't want to track-by-track it. Honestly could've penned another 1000 words on this, but we should probably spend a little less time reading and more time listening.

TheNotrap
November 18th 2019


12479 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I had a feeling you'd sprout this sooner or later. Good work, as always.

The opener and Consuming Lies are great jams.

Digging: Lord Mantis - Universal Death Church

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
November 18th 2019


10862 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I guess I'm "that guy" now haha.

MO
November 19th 2019


22781 Comments


fuck yes. gonna chek

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2019


10862 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I love any comments thread where MO is.

Source
November 19th 2019


14767 Comments


only heard pern

oltnabrick
November 19th 2019


38191 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The quintessential flavour of the week "I don't normally listen to metal but..." metal band. Hipster trash that will be forgotten by the end of the year.

Digging: ECCO2K - E

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2019


10862 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

That looks like some BI copypasta. There's nothing hipster about this

oltnabrick
November 19th 2019


38191 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the album cover screams "post-irony"

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2019


10862 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Ta sweet.



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