The Human Abstract
posted on 8/2006 By:
Before I begin this review, I’ve got to get something off of my chest. Specifically:
I fucking hate sweep arpeggios.
Now, this likely sounds a bit ridiculous to my dear readers, and in point of fact it’s a pretty ridiculous sentiment. I generally try to restrict my hatred to individuals and concepts who are truly harmful and deserving of such emotion, but this particular guitar technique summons up a special kind of resentment with me. Though always a somewhat melodically useless trick, the sweep arpeggio’s sudden rise to popularity amongst young metal guitarists has imposed upon it a certain iconic status; specifically, it’s almost always employed to distract the listener from dull, listless songwriting. “Look here, dudes,” say legions of would-be shredders. “This may be a completely stale solo that only elongates a painfully redundant paint-by-numbers metalcore tune, but I can go blededeDEWEEEDEwedololo really fast, maaaan! Sick brah!” Shut the hell up, your chops are mediocre and you couldn’t write a memorable riff if someone was holding your In Flames record collection at gunpoint.
Okay, now that I’m done with that, on to The Human Abstract. It’s a bad sign when a band’s website by itself pushes your buttons. Reading the band’s bio gives the impression that its members have little or no real familiarity with the history of the music they’re so fumblingly attempting to purvey. Heavy music’s focus is fashion? There’s a “time-honored European tech-metal tradition”? Fugazi and Refused invented aggressive punk? If you bros say so. Furthermore, do you really expect anyone to believe that your compositions are influenced by “the more classical approaches of early period composers,” or that you bearded nipple-level guitar dorks even listen to classical music? Or, for that matter, that your band’s “true nature is to tackle, analyze and express the full range of human emotion”? Give it a fucking rest.
I wouldn’t give The Human Abstract so much shit for their lame pretension-loaded bio if the music itself wasn’t such complete dross. This sounds exactly how you’d expect it to sound: a marriage of Beyond the Embrace and Between the Buried and Me’s least inspired moments. The songs are aimless collections of third-rate Gothenburg parts, third-rate neo-death tech riffs, fifth-rate (think sub-Bleeding Through) clean choruses complete with heavy digital vocal fixing, wildly cliché breakdowns, and lots and lots of chop-intensive tin-eared solos. Oh yeah, and an average of about fifteen sweep arpeggios per fucking minute of music. There are even not one, but two requisite acoustic interlude tracks. Eight listens in and I still can’t convince myself to give a goddamn about any of Nocturne. My guess is anyone with any real metal experience will find this just as boring as I did. It’s repetitive, uninspired, insincere, and (surprise!) devoid of any early-period classical influences. Who’da thought?
The Human Abstract managed to get some big names involved in this recording-wise; Jamie King (of BTBAM and He Is Legend fame) handled production while Eric Rachel covered mixing. The resultant icy-cold gloss does nothing but highlight the soulless sterility of Nocturne. I guess you can get anyone to work on your record when you can go blededeDEWEEEDEwedololo on your axe, and unless that’s your sole criterion for good music, I’d advise you stay the hell away from this shitpile.
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