Attrition’s brand of musical merge – a blend of rock and classical and ambient components has attracted a decidedly gothic fan-base as well as producing an alternative style of music for ‘off the beaten path’ listeners. It can be strange for the casual listener. But what makes Attrition work so well is their flair for the unusual. A listen to any one of their many recordings will provide you with music that you have unlikely heard before. It’s an element of rock music as well as a hallmark that I love, experimentation at its greatest. Imagine Jimmy Page never having used a bow to play his guitar in Song Remains the Same. On that same note, Martin Bowes of Attrition has gone the extra mile.
This collection of pieces from albums produced over the span of several decades, from 1982 through 2004, are particularly noteworthy works, deserved of recognition. This compilation imports 12 songs including their “Silent Night,” a Christmas carol produced for inclusion on Projekt’s first (there are now three volumes) In Excelsis collection of bold holiday reinterpretations. “Dream nine (recurring)” is another found on a Silber Records collection (Winter Wishes). There are a few alternate tracks of original songs but otherwise, Esoteria assembles a decent package of interest that includes original selections representing various periods.
You can expect to hear operatic voices, violins, piano, voices, and sound effects, sometimes eerie. These make up the core of Attrition’s sound. “Silent Night” is a chilling interpretative song that could easily be found accompanying a scene in a horror film with Christmas as its theme. But as frightening as it is, it is as charmingly enticing. “Cold Genius” from their Etude album is an alternate take, an industrially rhythmic walk through a ghost infested basement of a factory at midnight. You can feel the cold desolation blowing in from “Dream nine (recurring)” as it impresses a chilling winter wind on the listener along with a child’s voice.
If I have a complaint, it is with the simple 4-page booklet that, given the intent of the set, could have been expanded to address the songs in far greater detail. As a fan of the music and the band, one would certainly love the chance to step into the mindsets that make up these songs. Hopefully, future iterations of Esoteria (this is version 2, re-compiled and remastered; the original release was a Limited Edition Russian release from 1999) will take this into account and update the booklet.
Attrition is bold experimental alternative at its best with Esoteria a viral carrier of entrancing ambient that takes us into the mind of the band. Of course, Attrition is not for everyone with its storms, percussive raindrops, and eerie children’s voices. But for those that enjoy the unconventional path, Esoteria could make you a fervent fan.