Ladies and gentlemen, Esoteric Youth have arrived. Manchester’s blackened hardcore darlings might have debuted back in 2012 with their self-titled demo, but their new 4 track EP The Burden of Living is on a completely different level. Esoteric Youth might have set themselves a ridiculously high bar that they’re going to have trouble beating for the rest of their career, but who really cares when they’ve delivered a record as ferocious as this?
The Burden of Living is one of the most intense metal releases you will hear this year. That might sound like hyperbole but when the band effortlessly change from hardcore riffing to pure, black metal, tremolo picking and then bolster it with the loudest, twangiest bass possible, it’s hard to argue against it. This EP is an absolute assault on the ears and vocalist Dom Moss sounds like he’s pouring his heart and soul into every harrowing, vicious scream. Esoteric Youth have undoubtedly mastered their special blend of blackened hardcore with finesse.
The real impact of the band’s brutality lies in the guitar work which is carefully textured to give the riffs maximum impact. The way this is done is through the use of atmospheric guitar work which is generally played higher up the neck and with a nice helping of reverb to create a stark, bleak tone. This is then married with the biting crunch of each song’s riffs to create a brilliant contrast that Esoteric Youth can claim entire ownership of.
The only real negative I can draw on this record is the fact that the bass is so high in the mix. You can almost always hear it popping and clattering its’ way through every song and while it does add a lot of impact, it can drown out the guitar work on occasion. It’s also a slightly more noticeable issue when you’re listening with headphones as it generally makes the audio clip which is obviously not a pleasant thing to listen to.
Regardless, this is a minor complaint on what is one of the most furious metal releases I’ve heard in some time. At the moment, Esoteric Youth are the kings of UK blackened hardcore and The Burden of Living solidifies their position as one of the country’s most important heavy bands. This EP is undoubtedly the best release by the band so far and I’d hate to be in their position now because this is the watermark that will be held against everything they do from here on in. Congratulations and good luck guys.