stop growling at me
God help us all
Grade - 1.0
released Mar 8th, 2011
from the album - Faust - 1.0
from all music
When a band takes its name from one of the metaphysical British poet William Blake's most allegorical and impenetrable poems, they clearly aren't taking the easy route to fame and fortune. In keeping with their titular inspiration, the Human Abstract favors a brainy, progressive take on contemporary metal and hardcore that looks beyond the usual cars and girls themes. Guitarist Dean Herrera and guitarist and keyboardist A.J. Minette formed the Human Abstract in 2004, adding bassist Kenny Arehart, drummer Brett Powell, and, finally, singer Nathan Ells. Inspired by progressive rockers like Rush and Dream Theater along with heavier contemporary acts like Between the Buried and Me and Minette's university music theory training, the Human Abstract recorded a demo and played a number of regional gigs before signing with the local indie Hopeless Records in 2005. Working with producers Eric Rachel and Jamie King, longtime veterans of the Southern California post-hardcore scene, the Human Abstract released their debut album, Nocturne, in August 2006.
The Human Abstract are a technical/progressive metal band, somewhere between Muse and Neuraxis. They've got harsh vocals (from former From First to Last guitarist Travis Richter), sweepingly epic songs that transition from chugga-chugga guitar riffing to delicate piano melodies, death metal roars to nasal crooning and back multiple times. The longer songs, like the seven-minutes-plus "Antebellum," have a real beauty reminiscent of Radiohead in their Pink Floyd period, where some of the shorter ones like the title track or "Holographic Sight" occasionally get too caught up in change for its own sake, shifting from one section to another seemingly for ADD-related rather than artistic reasons, but nothing here is mere "riff salad." The guitar solos are clean and augment the songs rather than dragging them to a halt for an outburst of wanky shredding, and the drumming is powerful, somehow balancing intricacy and power. Some songs ("Complex Terms" and "Horizon to Zenith" in particular) owe more to Muse than others, but that's not really a bad thing. And the closing track, "Patterns," is one of the best cuts on the record, dramatic and shredtastic. This is a major statement by a band that seemingly has yet to peak.
1 Elegiac Human Abstract 2:11
2 Complex Terms Human Abstract 5:10
3 Digital Veil Human Abstract 3:30
4 Faust Human Abstract 5:56
5 Antebellum Human Abstract 7:29
6 Holographic Sight Human Abstract 4:28
7 Horizon to Zenith Human Abstract 4:19
8 Patterns Human Abstract 3:43