Progressive Death Metal
Intro ...In The Forest
Ride To The Unknown >mp3
Dark Silent Room
Hunting Lost Dreams >mp3
Sacred Sin ...Death In Life…
Slept Shining Dew
To My Conscience
10 \ 10
What a surprise as one day suddenly a CD from Bolivia was in my mailbox. So far I had only known one band from there, LILITH, and their debut CD was a pretty positive surprise. Even though I really liked them, I still approached ESTERTOR's "Between Silence And Light" with care, still knowing which styles many South American bands call their own. But holy smokes, these guys definitely are not one of the rain forest blast beat commandos, which assault us from those regions so often, but they are aiming higher and that on a damn high level of musicianship!
The Cochabamba based quartet is hailed as one of the best South American bands (especially from sources not related to the band or the label) and "Between Silence And Light" is a very impressive confirmation of this claim, because the material here absolutely deserves a wide attention than a Bolivian band on a Bolivian label normally would ever get, for they easily make mincemeat of 90% of the rest (not only Bolivian bands of which I only know 2 anyways) and I can say that without exaggeration or bad conscience!
The basis of the ESTERTOR sound is Melodic Death Metal, but instead of just computing it and spit it out more or less unchanged, they only take it as a foundation to build a more than remarkable soundscape, which stands up to even daring comparisons. When a band puts more than 71 minutes of music onto a CD, it takes quite some song writing skills to keep up tension and quality, too often bands more or less miserably fail here, but in the case of ESTERTOR I can happily announce that these guys have it. Taking influences from the greats of Melodic Death Metal, melodic and gripping riffs and leads of early DARK TRANQUILLITY and IN FLAMES find their way into the ESTERTOR sound, but instead of just re-using them in a comparable framework, the Bolivians greatly vary the context, here with elements from traditional Heavy and Power Metal, there from Death/Doom, this creating a pretty stongly contrasting mood, which furthers the tension of the songs and realises the opposites in great harmony.
But still not enough, because we even get breakdowns with acoustic and clean guitars, which break through the intensity and tension, just to re build them, lending big dynamics to the whole album. If I now write that ESTERTOR with this at times remind me of OPETH and also quality wise are not as far off as many would think, some will call this blasphemy, others shameless exaggeration, but I dare you to form your own opinion and you will agree that the quartet does neither try to copy OPETH, but only follows their lead.
And even vocally we hardly get disappointed, because here, too, variety is the law. Guitarist Marcelo is supported by drummer Franky and together they do not only cover the "regular" Death Metal vocals, but also bring us pretty original, but still well sounding clean vocals as well as the half growl that we are treated with so often in Doom/Death, to cover many different moods and atmospheres also in the vocal department, while the Death Metal vocals form the lion's share.
After the intro "...Into The Forest" "Ride To The Unknown" right away introduces us to a gripping mix of fast, melodic leads, melancholic Doom riffing, variable rhythm, here driving Death, there dark Doom, then a calm interlude with acoustic guitars, with mostly Death vox, but also the clean vocals (as mentioned a bit unusual, but still very fitting and memorable), as you can see, variability is not a problem with ESTERTOR and still everything stays comprehensible and coherent, very strong opener! And also following this the Bolivians to not let up, but continue their kind of facetful and moody Metal, despite the at times quite opulent song lengths never repetitive or even boring. As additional check out tips, take "Dark Silent Room", the doomy "Green", "Lifebuilder" or the driving "Drunk Song (Nietzsche)". The production does not have premier league level yet, but still is really good, just in the mix it is a bit unbalanced here and there, which does not take away from the enjoyability at all. And also the visual side, in the hands of Moonlapse Productions, is more than remarkable, with very moody and interesting cover and booklet, with ease this lives up to the high standards of the music.
First LILITH, now ESTERTOR, if these two bands are the bar for the Bolivian Metal scene, then we have discovered a sleeping giant, I guess that I'll have to dig into that scene more!
"Between Silence And Light" has turned out to be an album of surprises, from style to class, and it is one of the most positive kind! Looking back it even would have deserved a spot in my personal Top 20 of 2003. So don't let the fact shy you off that ESTERTOR come from Bolivia and you have never heard of them or Moonlapse Productions before, but give them the chance that they more than deserve and yourself the chance to find an undiscovered gemstone! (Online January 19, 2004)