Esoteric - The Maniacal Vale
Season Of Mist
Psychedelic Funeral Doom
Disc 1: 4 songs (51:45) Disc 2: 3 songs (49:58)
Release year: 2008
Esoteric, Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Goat
Album of the month

For all its faults – the rants and ravings of the True Doom community, the unapologetic bluntness, the wallowing in human misery on a scale not seen since the advent of the tabloid newspaper – Doom has come a long way since those first Black Sabbathian flights of fancy yet at the same time progressed very little. It is, after all, still about dread, fear, suffering, the very eternal aspects of human existence that stop life being the picnic that many happy-clappies would have you believe. Whether religiously-affiliated or not, there exists a type of human that always sees the positive, always takes the good, the half-full. These people refuse to recognise the darkness inherent in man, the void, the evil, and as such live life in some kind of optimistic daze, skipping blindly along whilst everything around them goes to shit.

Well, there is an answer to such folly, and it goes by the name of Esoteric. The British lords have been slaving away in the underground since 1992, the first demo the band released clocking in at over eighty minutes, and the five full-lengths since then celebrating human pain and misery – some would say causing it, but we’ll not mention them further – with suitably lengthy constructions. Album number five, going by the name of The Maniacal Vale and spread over two CDs, continues the pillage of the human soul, as slow and devastating as lava from a volcano, albeit with enough expertise and mastery to prevent boredom from creeping in. Having dedicated the last fifteen years of their lives to the project, guitarists Greg Chandler and Gordon Bicknell are the Desert Eagle behind this particular bullet, and there’s no doubting that The Maniacal Vale will leave a path of destruction wherever it hits.

Describing the psychedelic morass as it rolls over your ears is somewhat like a television report on a tsunami – some talentless hack trying to put into words what you can see damn well with your own eyes, and such is the case with Esoteric. Once you’ve heard the triple-guitar wall of noise, once you’ve recognised the buried melodies and been subdued by the apocalyptic growls, there’s little point in having someone else describe it to you. All that I can do is point out the subtle experimentation that the band has absorbed into its sound as if it was there all along, rising and fading like waves on a beach, including but not limited to the occasional bursts into speed, the unsettling ambience that opens Quickening, the Post-Rock meandering of Circle, the ferocity of Caucus Of Mind, the Death Metal of Beneath This Face, the melody of Silence

There comes a time in all of our lives when we have to take a step into the void, into that darkest part of ourselves that is always kept under lock and key, and few describe the journey in aural terms so well as Esoteric do. The Maniacal Vale does more than reward the time you give it – this will take a long, long time to absorb, and not just because of the running length. This is Album Of The Month, at least, as well as a compulsory purchase for all Doombahs and other souls sickened by their existence.

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Album as a whole
Goat quoted 93 / 100
Other albums by Esoteric that we have reviewed:
Esoteric - Paragon of Dissonance reviewed by Charles and quoted 90 / 100
Esoteric - Metamorphogenesis reviewed by Dee and quoted 85 / 100
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