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Esthesis The Awakening album cover
4.04 | 46 ratings | 2 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2020

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Downstream (16:31)
2. No Soul to Sell (8:33)
3. High Tide (10:35)
4. Chameleon (8:06)
5. The Awakening (6:26)
6. Still Far to Go (9:28)

Total Time 59:39

Line-up / Musicians

- Aurélien Goude / vocals, keyboards, lap-steel guitar, bass
- Baptiste Desmares / lead guitar
- Marc Anguill / bass
- Florian Rodrigues / drums
- Mathilde Collet / backing vocals (6)

Releases information

CD / Digital via Bandcamp (2020)

Thanks to damoxt7942 for the addition
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ESTHESIS The Awakening ratings distribution

(46 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (13%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ESTHESIS The Awakening reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Tardy arrival on the 2020 scene is this new band from France, called Esthesis and their debut 'the Awakening'. In a year that was appalling in a social context, 2020 certainly offered up quite a dizzying array of progressive rock, proving that music can be a remarkable panacea and that hardship can be a fountain of inspiration or at the very least, provide the spark of getting things done. In a world gone speed mad, the forced introspection is not necessarily a bad thing, though some have suffered mentally from the dread of routine. Esthesis is a young band from Toulouse in the lovely Midi region, and to have the balls to kick off their career with an epic 16 minute + extravaganza is quite a revelation. Fronted by Aurelien Goude on vocals, keys, bass and guitars, lead axeman Baptiste Desmares, and held together by bassist Marc Anguill and drummer Florian Rodrigues, this is a tight unit that has a grip on their vision and sound. The source of their muse lies squarely in the atmospheric/cinematographic realm of Pink Floyd and its French cousin Pulsar as well as more modern colleagues like Porcupine Tree, Rick Miller, Pineapple Thief and Airbag. Talk about bait, this is a timeless piece of genius that will knock a few heads sideways.

'Downstream' is a picture-perfect illustration, introducing a rambling panorama of effects, an ornate piano etude that would make Rick Wright smile with acknowledgement, a scintillating gentle groove on which Desmares can stretch out the bluesy notes. When Aurelien seizes the mike, it is a velvety and plaintive whisper, quite close to Steven Wilson, gradually garnering emotive steam, as the lead guitar soars like you know who! The melodies are immediate and accomplished, the whistling serving as a platform for the sweet soloing on piano as well. Just a fabulous introduction that really sets up the anesthetic. Out of left field and wholly unexpected after such a sublime soporific ride, the harsher 'No More Soul to Sell' grabs by the scruff of the neck and propels forward, shoved along by pounding riffs, loopy bass and a tough percussive stance. The guitars rage greasily, the tormented voice displaying the pain of spiritual treachery, a bleak and forlorn mid- section that vaporizes the mundane, only to better unleash the second onslaught, though in a completely different approach. Very clever and very tasty. The moody 'High Tide' shows more restraint, fortifying the hold on the listener by suggesting an overwhelmingly melancholic piece, all fragile, despondent, heartfelt, and painful. It evolves unhurriedly into a crescendo of emotions, crowned by a gut-wrenching axe flurry that shakes the foundations, clearly tugging at the heart strings. Wow!

Unwilling to wallow too long in the same furrow, 'Chameleon' is a choppier affair, much like the title would imply, until the skeleton melody adds flesh to bone, while remaining firmly in the windswept territory of sound, a slippery synth solo slashing through the mist, very Camel-esque. The rifling organ sweep ends this piece in surprising fashion. A crafty intermission that serves its purpose very well.

The title track is unsurprisingly a highlight moment, as an eerie e-piano motif slithers through the sturm und drang of a thunderstorm, leisurely setting up the hypnotic mood for another harrowing voyage into the sonic sublime, where slow and gentle, sentimental unite with the unanticipated ratcheting up of the sounds. The band seems to master restraint very well indeed, confidently blooming their arrangements according to their timeline and not ours, a most delicious gift, in my opinion.

I hope the title is an omen as 'Still Far to Go' should be the motivator for future releases. Another constant element is the presence of piano setting up the score, a clear sign that the ivories are the compositional key to the music, never a bad thing! The anthem -like quality of this finale only serves to nail the coffin of delight shut. A crystalline slice of prog with a sure footed vocal, a memorable hook on the melody and a renewed splurge on the synth, recalling Peter Bardens and the long list of Camel keyboardists. A tremendous finish on a delightful album. Fans of the above-mentioned bands will instantly fall in love with this striking soundtrack, a new talent that must strive to forge their chosen path, as they have the chops, the sound, and the resourcefulness to become a creative force in modern prog, especially now that the Tree is pretty much a distant shrub in terms of future development. Big surprise this, sitting comfortably numb at the number 9 position of my top 2020 albums.

4.5 Emergences

Latest members reviews

4 stars ESTHESIS is this French progressive rock group born in 2013, in the pure vein of 70's dinosaurs namely PINK FLOYD, SUPERTRAMP and BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST, AIRBAG, ANATHEMA or PORCUPINE TREE more recently, Gilmour, Glass and the atmospheres of DEAD CAN DANCE (film and ambient music, pop, metal). He ... (read more)

Report this review (#2575199) | Posted by alainPP | Tuesday, June 29, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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