Fatal Impact – Esoteria

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Review by Robert Baker

Traditionally, the land to look to when seeking blame for the sudden influx of visitors from abroad all wearing horns on their hats and axes in their hands and murderous intent in their eyes, Norway is perhaps now more known for the more outré side of metal output. Fatal Impact are a self-confessed Illuminati metal three piece, who take the limits of their number and build a landscape truly belying that fact.

Opening with an almost reverential selection of chords sees title track ‘Esoteria’ engulf you into the layers of aural accomplishment on offer, a well realised aural visioning that piques the imagination as well as the ears. Sans vocals, it opens the album with a slow yet steady burn, a gentle enveloping as you become supplicant to the sounds. So following such a track with the brusqueness of ‘A New Era’ – all chug-tastic and squeal-arific – certainly brings you out of your reverie sharpish. At odds with the first track it can take a while to get back into the groove of the music, though the pace kicks-up come the chorus and you can get into the song a whole lot better once it goes back into the verse again. Because at nearly six minutes and at least one more tempo change you’re going to want to be able to enjoy what’s on offer here, as there’s very much a theme of ‘mini epic’ to each track. ‘The Arrival’ and ‘Under The Stars’ echo the build-it-slow-but-build-it-big motif, and shows how creative the band are that they are able to produce such songs without them sounding contrived or samey; equally songs like ‘A View To Hell’ and ‘The Final Solace’ display as much abundance in craftsmen creating, but with a faster, more leaner set of bench cutters and tools arming the pacier and louder side of the band.

It’s much to their credit that Esoteria runs the gamut across each song without losing pace or becoming distilled; but it is a big album to sit through, with your attention and ears constantly called to by tempo changes and breakdowns, hard hitting lead or contemplative rhythm. And as the only minor gripe I’d say the vocals are really quite good, smooth and enforcing when necessary, and able to beef up a bit for the more impassioned bits, but when looking to add a few chest hairs to proceedings the vocals fall almost short of the mark, getting close to a grunt befitting such a soundtrack as this yet missing it by *that much*.

All minor gripes aside there is much to recommend in Esoteria; be it the cornucopia of sounds afforded to you on each track or the depth and brevity three musicians can render into musical form, to the experience of simply sitting back and listening to the title track once more. If you are able to listen to songs that don’t stick rigidly to a four/four count and chanty chorus then Fatal Impact’s Esoteria should be looking to fill some space on your iPod.

Fatal Impact - Esoteria

8 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Esoteria
  2. A New Era
  3. Where the Alders Grow
  4. Silent December
  5. End Time Theatre
  6. The Blind Mans Eye
  7. The Arrival
  8. A View to Hell
  9. Under The Stars
  10. The Final Solace
  11. Verity of Splendor
  12. Funeral