Esoteric: The Maniacal Vale


By Ola Mazzuca

Go into your favourite room. Turn off all the lights and put this album in your stereo. Focus on your presence and not so much as to what surrounds you, but more towards your personal connection to the music.

For me, listening to Esoteric is comparable to listening to a relaxation CD that could be found at your local library. But the best part about this is that it’s metal.

So much can be said about The Maniacal Vale. Some might argue that four tracks* are not enough but with atmospheric melodies and avant-garde elements, boredom is out of the question.

‘Circle’ is a pure outpour of emotion. The introduction of melancholy guitar strums slowly lead into dark, hoarse vocals that take its sweet time. The guitar almost sounds as if it is crying. Not out of sadness but out of release. This track spans just over twenty minutes, involving many gentle changes throughout. When ‘Circle’ becomes aggressive at it’s peak, it transforms back to its tranquil self.

In the midst of The Maniacal Vale, things are considerably heavy, though moderately slow and doomy in nature. Distorted guitars and soloing are spontaneous yet fitting. Bass and battery are always following, but never overbearing.

Just when you thought final track ‘Caucus of Mind’ was going to sound similar to everything else, it plunges into a swift thrash movement that lasts for a few minutes before switching back to sounds that make your brain melt.

This album is fantastic. Is Esoteric progressive doom? It is certain they are capable of gravitating towards this, but experimental? Definitely.

The Maniacal Vale is full of emotion, gradual transitions and amazing soundscapes. Listen with patience, proceed with an open mind, and prepare for bliss.

*NB – while this is a 2 cd set, the promo version is only one CD of the two

(Season of Mist)


Sean is the founder/publisher of; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.