ESOTERIC — Metamorphogenesis (review)

ESOTERIC — Metamorphogenesis album cover Album · 1999 · Funeral Doom Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
There's some changes going on with Esoteric's third album, 'Metemorphogenesis'. One minor detail is that frontman Greg Chandler has picked up a guitar, which would become a permanent arrangement. The bigger change is that there's only one disc! Esoteric have been known for releasing two CD albums; but here, there's only one. There's only three songs, each of them getting progressively shorter in length for only 44 minutes of music. Maybe that will make this album easier to get into for outsiders.

Upon pressing play, there's one other little difference from the past albums: there's no creepy/spacey sounding intro. All the instruments and even vocals are going right from the get go at the beginning of "Dissident". Of course, we still have the same funeral doom sound with echo vocals and haunting lead guitar, but the production on this album has improved since 'The Pernicious Enigma'. Though starting out a bit fast, the initial pace begins to slow at 3:44, eventually reaching a slow section filled with atmospheric weirdness provided by keyboard notes and ambiance that Esoteric is very well known for by this point. They play around with that mood for a good while. Around the 10 minute mark, the rhythm guitar chugging starts to progressively get faster, but there's still lead guitar and/or keys to make it sound alien. Eventually, the sped up chugging gets really, really hypnotic before it stops a little after the 13 minute mark giving way to ambiance and noise going on for the last minutes of the song.

Yep, it's Esoteric's musical mind-fuckery at it's finest, but there's still two more songs.

"The Secret of the Secret" (what the hell kind of name is that?) comes next. It starts with slower, calmer spacey guitars with the pace with 1:15 signalling the intro of funeral doom chugging. Afterwards, the next big variation comes in at 2:45 with the tempo picking up slightly and the keys and/or guitar playing a scary lead line before the riff drops and music changes at 3:20. That scary, faster music comes back at 4:50. After it goes away again, the music that comes in to replace it is silent guitar playing with noise until the funeral doom music comes back in with a more melancholic tone that is maintained for the rest of the song with something of an extended spacey guitar solo playing to amp up the atmosphere.

All that is left is "Psychotropic Transgression". Another sorrowful sounding piece, the pace doesn't change too drastically, but there is another one of those extended spacey guitar solos among all the other atmosphere until the 7 minute mark where it all begins to quiet down and slow up keeping that pace for pretty much the rest of the song. Aside from the steadily changing atmosphere from the lead guitar and keys, there isn't much changing at this point, but it's funeral doom. What did you expect?

Esoteric is moving into the modern funeral doom sound with this release, and this transitional album is really quite astounding. Obviously, it's not quite as excellent as the legendary 'The Pernicious Enigma', but definitely better than the still great 'Epistemelogical Despondancy', making 'Metamorphogenesis' a most excellent addition to Esoteric's legacy.
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