ESA: Themes of Carnal Empowerment Pt3: PENANCE CD WTII Records


ESA: Themes of Carnal Empowerment Pt3: PENANCE CD WTII Records

The third and final instalment in this series of thematically stringed releases, sees ESA’s Jamie Blacker shift stable from Tympanik Audio, to the ever expanding roster of US label WTII Records. However, nothing has altered in the transition sound wise, as Blacker brings to us what is most likely the strongest episode in this trilogy.

‘Men Will Only Break Themselves’ punches its way into existence with a clenched fist; that evolves into a jarred eruption of industrial sensibilities. Carrying an underlying dance edge, there is an evident progression in programming techniques; displaying Blacker’s ability to mix the commercial with an undercurrent of unnerving sampling.

‘Be Still and I Shall Tell You Why’ epitomises what ESA does best; a pulsating distorted beat-fest that speeds through Industrial waters with brutal abandon, seamlessly flowing into the heart stuttering ‘The Tempters Triumph’.

The pace slows somewhat as the sinister ‘Master, No Servant’ changes tack; with atmospherics carrying the track on a wave of bleak pads as a wall of beats and electronics throw jab after jab.  In contrast, ‘What the Devil Did’ is a more electronic affair that is wrapped in a cleaner aesthetic, sonically speaking; with an off kilter wire-like thread to tie it together.

‘My Church’ utilises one aspect of Blacker’s influences, with a Dave Vincent-esque growl accompanying yet another of the albums excursions into none stop barrages of rhythmic noise; that is tempered with the soundtrack church organ romp, that is ‘Threnody For You’.

The title track follows on at a relatively serene pace compared to its counterparts; and the guest vocals of Magenta.S provide some welcome respite from the continual smash in the teeth that ‘Themes…3’ provides to this point.

‘Juju Yako’ and ‘Fenetre’ signal the end of this album, as the pace slows and shudders to its inevitable conclusion; with a sea of complex electronics bouncing between a bed of marching rhythms and grinding screeches, providing a fitting full-stop to the many years of work that went into the creation of this trilogy.

All in all, ‘PENANCE’ is a crushing affair, with Blacker wanting to end the story on an explosive high.  As a collection ‘Themes…’ works effectively as a whole package, as well as each album does on their own individual merits.  I am impressed as always and this album does beg the question as to where ESA goes from here; and I seriously hope the end of this tale doesn’t signal the final bell in what has been a great run of albums thus far.


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