ES23 - Heaven Or Hell
Aggrotech, Harsh EBM I didn't know what to expect out of ES23. I haven't heard much about the band, which is a shame. Doing some digging around, I see this album is a long time coming and much anticipated. I can see why.

A new signing to Infacted, well know for having a host of great bands (Detroit Diesel, Heimataerde, etc.) they have a certain pedigree, and this band hits it in a lot of ways.

Heaven or Hell starts with "About a God 2010" It's a very solid opening track, and interestingly they have included as the last track on the album, what appears to be an earlier version of the same track, which is more or less the same song, but, very much less appealing. "About a God" is solid, and sets up what is to come on the album. I like it, it isn't groundbreaking work, it is however, quite danceable, and overall very well done. The same can be said of much of the album.

Standouts for me, "Child" is very creepy, very downtempo, and honestly sounds quite good without sounding like any band I can put my finger on, and that is impressive. "No Return" comes right after, and is equally impressive. To me, this band excels at mid to down tempo music, the faster tracks are good, but, don't have the same power and emotion as the slower work.

There is however a couple of caveats, one thing that is immediately clear, is that there is a very wide span of time spent on this album. It is not cohesive at all. Some songs are well written, and very thought out, others come across amateurish, maybe reproduced earlier work? "Machine" is one of these. "She" I can't decide how I feel about it. It reminds me very much of :Wumpscut: circa 2006, not a filler track, but, not really at home on this album either.

"Pixelbreed Theme" features contributions from Fredrik Croona, of Project Rotten/Cynical Existence. I am not sure what exactly Mr. Croona did in this one, but, it is another excellent track, the lead programming is spot on, and very catchy.

There is one universal complaint with this album. The final production. It all sounds flat, song to song, there are a ton of dynamics in the music, and they are squished flat by compression and limiting, it gets to the point of total ear fatigue, and it is really, especially on this music, a shame. There is a lot of content here, that is getting smashed. Often to vocals tend to blend in and out of the music, which is also a shame.

So, bottom line, would I buy this? Yes. I am actually. It is great to see a band with such solid writing, meaningful vocals, none of the usual trivial swearing and hate, angst, just good quality moody music. I really like it. I have been fighting with myself over whether to give it a 7 or an 8. It is by no means perfect, but, for a debut, it is really, really good. In the end, I am going with a 7, simply because I am not allowed a 7.5. Check them out if you like Harsh EBM, really give it a look. If you like the genre, you will like this. Recommended, and ES23 has made my personal watch list. If they can clear up some of the problems, and work a bit on production and cohesion, they are a serious contender in the scene.
4
Brutal Resonance

ES23 - Heaven Or Hell

I didn't know what to expect out of ES23. I haven't heard much about the band, which is a shame. Doing some digging around, I see this album is a long time coming and much anticipated. I can see why.

A new signing to Infacted, well know for having a host of great bands (Detroit Diesel, Heimataerde, etc.) they have a certain pedigree, and this band hits it in a lot of ways.

Heaven or Hell starts with "About a God 2010" It's a very solid opening track, and interestingly they have included as the last track on the album, what appears to be an earlier version of the same track, which is more or less the same song, but, very much less appealing. "About a God" is solid, and sets up what is to come on the album. I like it, it isn't groundbreaking work, it is however, quite danceable, and overall very well done. The same can be said of much of the album.

Standouts for me, "Child" is very creepy, very downtempo, and honestly sounds quite good without sounding like any band I can put my finger on, and that is impressive. "No Return" comes right after, and is equally impressive. To me, this band excels at mid to down tempo music, the faster tracks are good, but, don't have the same power and emotion as the slower work.

There is however a couple of caveats, one thing that is immediately clear, is that there is a very wide span of time spent on this album. It is not cohesive at all. Some songs are well written, and very thought out, others come across amateurish, maybe reproduced earlier work? "Machine" is one of these. "She" I can't decide how I feel about it. It reminds me very much of :Wumpscut: circa 2006, not a filler track, but, not really at home on this album either.

"Pixelbreed Theme" features contributions from Fredrik Croona, of Project Rotten/Cynical Existence. I am not sure what exactly Mr. Croona did in this one, but, it is another excellent track, the lead programming is spot on, and very catchy.

There is one universal complaint with this album. The final production. It all sounds flat, song to song, there are a ton of dynamics in the music, and they are squished flat by compression and limiting, it gets to the point of total ear fatigue, and it is really, especially on this music, a shame. There is a lot of content here, that is getting smashed. Often to vocals tend to blend in and out of the music, which is also a shame.

So, bottom line, would I buy this? Yes. I am actually. It is great to see a band with such solid writing, meaningful vocals, none of the usual trivial swearing and hate, angst, just good quality moody music. I really like it. I have been fighting with myself over whether to give it a 7 or an 8. It is by no means perfect, but, for a debut, it is really, really good. In the end, I am going with a 7, simply because I am not allowed a 7.5. Check them out if you like Harsh EBM, really give it a look. If you like the genre, you will like this. Recommended, and ES23 has made my personal watch list. If they can clear up some of the problems, and work a bit on production and cohesion, they are a serious contender in the scene. Jul 15 2012

Clint Robertson

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

Share this review

Facebook
Twitter
Google+
12
Shares

Buy this release

Poponaut

Related articles

AktiveHate - 'In Terrorem'

Review, Feb 12 2011

AktiveHate - 'X-Synthesized'

Review, Apr 03 2013

Agonoize - 'Wahre Liebe'

Review, Jun 19 2012

Shortly about us

Started in spring 2009, Brutal Resonance quickly grew from a Swedish based netzine into an established International zine of the highest standard.

We cover genres like Synthpop, EBM, Industrial, Dark Ambient, Neofolk, Darkwave, Noise and all their sub- and similar genres.

© Brutal Resonance 2009-2016
Designed by and developed by Head of Mímir 2016