Black Metal, Stolen Wardrobes & Plastic Buckets, An Escarion Review (Video/Single)
Black Metal, Stolen Wardrobes & Plastic Buckets, An Escarion Review:
By M H Thomson
Escarion is a 5 piece Melbournian progressive metal act and an
interesting one at that. Whilst mixing elements of death and black metal into
their sound is far from unusual for progressive bands, blending these elements
so cohesively is quite a feat, and Escarion has mastered that with their most
recent release. The track in question is titled “Towards a Futile Existence”.
The music video they released for it in September is rather simple but beautifully shot. Filmed at legendary Collingwood pub the Gasometer Hotel, it merely consists of footage of a live performance with the studio track dubbed over the top; unadulterated by cinematic tropes or a cutaway storyline, something a lot of bands, often quite unnecessarily, throw a fair bit of budget into these days. Beyond the on-stage and crowd shots all Escarion elected to add was a brief peek behind the curtain, depicting the band’s pre-gig makeup routine.
The track itself opens with a bleak but gentle movement comprising mostly of guitar and piano work accompanied by a hauntingly elegant clean vocal monologue courtesy of mononymous keyboardist Gaia. Frontman John Arhondis eventually joins in as they transition into the much heavier main body of the tune. This heavier section leapfrogs effortlessly between a more traditionally progressive metal style verse riff (think mid-2000’s Opeth) and a blast beat-driven drill more redolent of something found on a Cattle Decapitation record. This makes for a diabolical combination of metal wizardry. The track merrily plods along in this vein for a while before the band descends back down into a lighter mid-section. Composed of the same tranquil feel and arrangement of guitar/piano/clean vocals as the intro, it initially seems to settle into a nice peaceful break from the prior brutality however the moment is spoilt somewhat by percussionist Tim Bottams accompanying roto toms which are tuned up so tightly he may as well have been hitting a load of plastic buckets like a street performer you’d find outside the Art Institute of Chicago. This is followed by a triumphant return to brutality, with masterful solos from guitarists Louis Surya and the aforementioned John Arhondis. The subsequent headbanging and mosh pit-friendly death metal riffage present for the remainder of the track round things off well.
Unlike the song’s lyrical content, the way the band presents themselves onstage is something I can comment on and much like their music their stage clothes are an interesting mixture of styles. The guitarists have gone for the customary black metal look with dark intricately woven hood, black jeans and the like, whereas Gaia seems to have gone for a more dignified but casual outfit. Both of these approaches work well; the rhythm section on the other hand picked some more unusual attire, drummer Tim’s dress shirt and open waistcoat combo makes him look like the off-duty bartender from a posh hotel, bassist Rhys McKenzie meanwhile appears to have stolen his wardrobe from an Appalachian bluegrass act. Odd choices perhaps but I quite like the fact that they went for something different rather than just having everyone dressed as counterfeit versions of Nergal from Behemoth.
On the whole “Towards a Futile Existence” as a song and music video serves Escarion well as a distinguished example of their prog metal prowess and engaging stage presence. Despite a few odd choices at times, with such a solid mixture of brutality and grace they’ve quite deftly demonstrated their formidable musical intentions and in my opinion, they could ask for no better advertisement than this song and its music video.
(Due to time constraints and mass confusion in the huge journalism hub that is Devil's Horns Zine, this was a video/single review as opposed to an album review)
That said, the album of the same title as this single is a ripper a solid mix of raging melodic death metal with prog/black influences worth your time!.
And the killer video: