The Esoteric - With the Sureness of Sleepwalking (Cover Artwork)

The Esoteric

With the Sureness of Sleepwalking (2005)


One of the most overlooked hardcore releases of last year was definitely the debut full-length from Lawrence, KS's the Esoteric, With the Sureness of Sleepwalking. Coming from a city notable for producing math metal pioneers Coalesce, which this band boasts ex-members of, and the fact that this album was produced by Ed Rose, signals should be set off about the nature of the music. Still, don't mistake these guys for another in the ever-growing wave of imitators.

As previously hinted, much of this band's sound can be traced through scene notables Botch and Coalesce, but even that is pigeon-holing their sound. While many in this style attempt to get as many different riffs, start and stops etc. as possible into each song, the Esoteric take another path. Using subtle electronics and other ambient effects, they attempt to create a dynamic, akin to mid-era Cave In with much success, never losing themselves in a song. Oftentimes these are used in conjunction with each other as in the two instrumental interludes, "Unavoidable Conclusion" and "To Keep Truth to Oneself." Also of note is the strong vocals of Steve Cruz, who forgoes growling for a visceral, yet still intelligible scream.

Standouts on the album include the opener, "Disappearing," which comes out with jackhammer drumming and raging guitars, and "Until the Grave Gives Up the Ghost," one of the final tracks and one of the more "mathy" on the album.

While these days the mere mention of Botch or Coalesce as an influence causes hesitation, the Esoteric avoid all of the pitfalls usually associated with bands in the genre, by remaining intense without sounding like white noise and ambient without being overly wandering, and while there was no shortage of critics lauding bands such as Darkest Hour last year, this album was repeatedly passed over.