In recent years Belgium has turned into a hot bed for emerging talent with the likes of Now, Voyager making themselves known and now Essence have arrived to make their mark. After a decade of existing as a band, this five piece have been through the usual changes and challenges any band goes through and have now found a formula that suits them.
On first listen the 5 songs found on ‘Smoke And Mirrors’ isn’t anything revolutionary yet on further inspection there is something special about what Essence has to offer. From the outset on ‘Submerged’ its clear their musicianship is outstanding with technical riffs and pummeling drums dominating above aggressive vocals. There is muscle and ferociousness in the bands playing yet, somewhat unfortunately, its’s a formula they stick with for the remainder of the EP.
Although tracks like ‘Recovery’ and ‘The Climb’ make it impossible for you to catch your breath by delivering their constant brand of frantic metalcore. Essence’s sound comes off as one dimension and lacks expansion. Whilst Michiel’s vocals, at times, lack the emphasis his words needs as he battles against crunching guitars and tasty riffs.
Nevertheless the closing track, ‘Prophecy’ offers a glimpse into the bands (hopefully) varied future with a more progressive, atmospheric approach, but its their sheer musical power that continues to dominate to the final moments. However this isn’t a bad thing.
From to start finish ‘Smoke And Mirrors’ is well executed and will certainly grabs people attention as Essence have the ingredients of being a great metal band. They now just need to use them to create a recipe that is varied, refined and will open doors for them down the line.
‘Smoke And Mirrors’ EP by Essence is out now.
Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)