The Phantom Tollbooth
October '98 Pick of the Month
Artist: Eso-Charis 
Label: “a seize the day record” (self-released?)(album available through band)
Time: 9 Tracks/30:23

Man, I like this album!!!

Eso-Charis is a four-piece hardcore band from Arkansas with an independently released CD (produced by Bruce Fitzhugh of Living Sacrifice) and a knack for writing killer songs. I saw them play with Living Sacrifice and Embodyment in Tucson, Arizona, and was impressed enough to buy their CD right after their set. You can read the review of that show here. What a great live band!

Intense, eclectic, emotional, and artistic are good adjectives to describe Eso-Charis. Cory Putman, the lead singer/guitarist, has an intense screaming vocal style, a bit higher than the average hardcore “singer”. He also uses a clean, sometimes spoken style. Back-up vocals are covered very effectively by the second guitarist and the bassist, adding another level of intensity to certain passages. The songs are well-written and generally heavy,  with trippy interludes sometimes approaching lounge-style music. These eight songs are truly complete, filled with excellent moments, including some points of musical climax that really move the listener. An example of this is near the end of the first song, “Born With a Future”, where the singer screams over and over the words, “I Love You”. I just cannot stay still at this point. Eso-Charis know how to evoke emotions with their music, whether it’s urgency (and there is a lot of this), peace, confidence, or whatever; the music of  Eso-Charis brings it out of the listener. These are some talented songwriters,  and I am becoming more and more convinced that this is the best hardcore band I have ever heard.  There is nowhere else to go with this review: Eso-Charis rules!

I would admonish any fan of heavy music to get this CD!

By Chris King  (8/25/98)