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The Human Abstract - Nocturne CD (album) cover

NOCTURNE

The Human Abstract

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.19 | 16 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is a good album that has some flaws that stop it from actually being great.

THE HUMAN ABSTRACT is a metal band, no question about that. And a progressive metal band at that. Not only do they use heavy, violent riffing but they combine it with extreme virtuosity and even some showing- off moments when they just play scales or figures for no particular reason. Their music is a combination of the sound of bands like MESHUGGAH, CYNIC, with elements of more traditional outfits like DEATH or even DREAM THEATER (?! - The guitarist even thanks John Petrucci for inspiration in the liner notes.) Think of this as hardcore-meets-thrash-meets-progressive metal.

The attack on the senses is constant, relentless, but there are melodic moments, and some are actually very good, even attaining beauty at times. The double-bass drum is used to accentuate most every crushing riff that the guitars produce, yet at the same time we can find acoustic passages where the pounding gets reduced to zero and all we have is melody. It's quite an achievement what this band has done at combining extreme violence with melodic music. When the album is heard, there's never certainty about what will happen next, and that's a good thing, as this record can be called anything except predictable.

As said before, the musicians tend to out-do themselves by showing off their abilities every now and then. There's no denying the quality of their performance even if at times they do things we never quite understand the purpose of. Many riffs end in rethorical scales or blazing figures where the bass drums, the guitars and the bass guitar all play in unison to the amazement of the listener but also to the bewilderment of the fan who doesn't see the point of it. There are genres where that kind of elements is necessary or even applauded (my own favorite DT the biggest example of that), but at times I wonder: is THE HUMAN ABSTRACT a technical metal band? They don't sound like one, but it's like they have a little of it in their hearts and just can't make up their minds about completely ignoring it.

The songs are never predicatable, their structures are somewhat typical but with many sections and layers that create surprise and tension. Most of the first half of the record is excellent. There's but one problem near the second half: track 8 ends with a long acoustic fade-out that would've been a perfect way to close the album (in fact, whenever I heard the record I think this is the end of it), but after this extended (and beautiful) moment, another violent songs starts and kills any effect this music had on us. Not only that but, to this reviewer, it feels like after track 8 THE HUMAN ABSTRACT lost their inspiration, as the remaining songs are the weakest in this collection.

I can't leave without commenting upon my biggest problem with this record: the vocals. I just can't tolerate hardcore-style vocals ala MESHUGGAH, and for the most part, that's what we get. Oddly enough, there are better moments when the voice is doubled and we get a kind of FEAR FACTORY-like effect which we like, but in what's even weirder, there are a lot of times when the vocals sound like an EMO band. Yes, even the melodies and the riffing tend to sound a little emo-ish in a few passages in the record, and that's another style we don't particularly love.

In the end, a good album, very good for lovers of extreme metal a la FEAR FACTORY or MESHUGGAH, which has a few flaws, the biggest one being the lack of decision from the band members regarding what is that they are trying to accomplish, and what identity THE HUMAN ABSTRACT really has.

The T | 3/5 |

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