ESQARIAL
"Inheritance"

(Crash Music)

01. Inheritance
02. Everlasting Wanderer
03. Broken Link
04. Flying Over the Treetops
05. A Pure Formality
06. Catching the Falling Knife
07. The Source of Constraint
08. The Day When the Sun Went Out
09. Two Minutes To Full Moon
10. Killing For Killing Time
11. Fire

RATING: 9.5/10

Is a classic album still a classic if no one hears it? Is there a certain minimum amount of public awareness that must be generated before something can be even a cult favorite? "Inheritance" has been out for a few months now in the USA, generating next to no interest or publicity. It was apparently such a low priority release that no one at the label could even be bothered to download a proper font to display the band's Polish names in the CD booklet.

But miss ESQARIAL at your peril, because this is a monster of an album. They show themselves on Inheritance to be one of the rare bands in this day and age who prefer writing songs to slavishly sticking with a fashion or the flavor of the week. It's death metal at its foundation, with some blast beats and clear, enunciated DM vocals. But there are occasional clean bits, some stunning guitar solos, occasional acoustic interludes, and in the case of "Two Minutes to Full Moon", a little instrumental that sounds left over from Steve Harris's demo tapes circa "Powerslave". There's melody here, but ESQARIAL reach back further than AT THE GATES for their inspiration — there's a feeling akin to the "Human"/"Individual Thought Patterns" era of DEATH, in energy, melody and songwriting skill. And though they're not overly technical, their masterful and fluid soloing (sometimes right after blast beat passages) give them that aura of prog class, without the attendant lack of toughness (see the midsection of "The Day When the Sun Went Out" for a perfect example of their marriage between melody, class, and thrashing brutality).

ESQARIAL is the band that could bridge the gap between OPETH and VADER, the band that could "heavy up" the guitar shred fans who "hate those Cookie Monster vocals" while simultaneously expanding the horizons of the most head-in-the-sand death metal Luddites. And in the process, they could give the entire Swedish thrash and metalcore scenes a lesson on how to be melodic and individualistic! "Inheritance" is a thoroughly unexpected surprise, one of the most refreshing and excellent albums I've found in quite a while, and it is my fervent hope that they can rise out of the endless flow of third-tier metal releases to take their rightful place as one of the leading lights of the metal scene. Yeah, they're that damn good, and we need them that much.

(So much, in fact, that I'll even refrain from making fun of their silly cover of JIMI HENDRIX's "Fire". "Move over, rover, and let ESQARIAL take over!!!" What??)

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