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Abigail's Ghost - D_Letion CD (album) cover


Abigail's Ghost


Heavy Prog

3.26 | 61 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Sophomore Slump? Strangely, you won't find it here.

One of my pet peeves in any music is quality. It needs to sound professional, even if you're not. It makes a very good first and lasting impression. Luckily, firing up the title track of Abigail's Ghost shows the improvement. Not just in quality, but also, amazingly, in songwriting. Their heavy side of music gives them a slight advantage over, say, Porcupine Tree while keeping their songs short and sweet. Problem was, they all tended to sound the same. Yet immediately, the guitars are showcased, the drummer gets a few fills, a more memorable chorus shows up and the change of pace and direction is a bit swifter.

Things are looking up.

Then once "Black Lace" starts up, you instantly think "Oh no, I've accidentally bought another Porcupine Tree record again." But you'd be wrong, because Josh Theriot sings differently this time. He doesn't just drone and moan like on "Selling Insincerity". He sings with a purpose, with a bit of a lift and a slight swing in the beat. In most music of this type, the beat sits back, in a lazy, droning feel. Now, it's more uptight, the drums are ahead of the beat. It grooves, it moves, it's got life to it, but it doesn't stray from the dark, heavy sound they were best known for on "Selling Insincerity".

Dare I even say, it's quite catchy too...

And it seems to get better. "Romantique Life" jars your gritted teeth with more heavy guitars. The lyrics have more life. The bass line is moving more. The drums are constant, and yet always one step ahead. "Plastik Soul" starts off with a "Jungle Book"-esque swing pattern on the floor toms and drums. It just doesn't seem realistic. Could these guys have totally avoided that stumble in the road?

Well, not entirely. "Cinder Tin", "Gemini Man", "Sneak Peak", "Visceral" all echo the slow, atmospheric utterances of "Selling Insincerity". Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I was just hoping they'd continue to add their own unique touch to these tracks. Which they haven't.

Then, "Easy A" comes on. And for some reason, which I can't really fathom... I like it. I really, really like it. The lyrics sit front and center here, and yet the lush guitar plucks followed by the BTBAM-esque blips of heavy licks give it a spark, a breath of fresh air that, nine times out of ten, would have ended in a slow, dying, wilted fashion. But instead, it has a unique sound that separates it from the others.

A sign that Abigail's Ghost maybe, just maybe, MAYBE have started to carve out their own sound. Even "Annie Enemy", the biggest bruiser of them all, sounds unlike their other songs. Now, it's a bit reminiscent of Oceansize and Riverside, but still, it keeps the emotion, without losing the listener. The heavy guitars are there, the change in pace is better, the prog elements sharper, the lyrics stronger. Now.... I'm starting to be impressed.

VERDICT: Forget the fact that "Grave Concerns" is another Porcupine Tree-esque ballad. This album is flat-out a massive, MASSIVE improvement from their debut, bar none. Yes, there were a few songs on "Selling Insincerity" that were enjoyable, but there was no unique sound to them. Nothing that would really tempt me to listening to that album again. The quality of the record just wasn't there, the motion just seemed lifeless, the tempo slow. The big heavy guitars over the slow, dark melodies felt like inebriated athletes, big, hulking monstrosities with reaction times so delayed, you'd mistake them for drug addicts.

But now, they're fit, spritely, up to snuff. The pace is there, the vocals have more life, the musicianship is fantastic, some of the songs are catchy, the prog is still there, the time signature changes are lightning fast, crisp and subtle. "Ah", you say, "but what if I liked some of their dreary songs off their past album?" Good news, as James May would say. You have some of those on this album here. Plain and simple, you have the progression of a young band carving out their own sound with a few nods to their debut to please their fans as well. This is hands down much, much, MUCH better than "Selling Insincerity".

*puts flame retardant suit on*

FAVORITES: "D_Letion", "Black Lace", "Easy A", "Annie Enemy"

Wicket | 4/5 |


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