Released: 2006, Hopeless Records
I’m probably going to catch some flak for this review, but such is life. I’ll at least by kind enough to save most readers scrolling through this before bailing out: The Human Abstract is a metalcore band. There, feel free to click “Next Review” and move on.
For those of you that are still here, I encourage you to check out this Los Angeles-based band. NOCTURNE may be their debut album, but on it, they sound like one of the originators of metalcore. Of course, they sound a little too close to their predecessors, bordering on outright plagiarism at times (I would say they are BIG fans of Avenged Sevenfold). Still, NOCTURNE is a rousing album and I really can’t explain why. For me, The Human Abstract is masters at building the tension to the breaking point and then tearing your face off with a well placed riff or solo. For example, take the title track which slowly builds throughout the song before going into short-burst vocals from Nathan Ellis followed by a long outro solo. They intelligently follow that up with “Crossing the Rubicon” which opens with a fast melodic riff to draw your ear back in, showing the band has at least put some thought into effective track sequencing – something many young bands don’t have a handle on.
The other thing that the band understands is dynamics – both “Sotto Voce” and “Desiderata” are quiet, melodic instrumentals that provide nice lulls before going back into the full-force attack. More importantly, both tracks are interesting enough to keep your attention.
If you’re not a metalcore fan, then all of this is not going to be enough to sway you into liking this album. You’ll hear the neo-Gothenburg riffs, the shouted to melodic vocals, the breakdowns, and you’ll tune out immediately. No problem. I know why metalcore is oft-reviled around these pages – most of it well-deserved.
However, for those that can still stomach a bit of metalcore in their heavy metal diet, I recommend checking out NOCTURNE. There may not be anything groundbreaking happening yet, but there is potential for the future. In the meantime, you can enjoy this for what it is: damn fine album.