The Human Abstract - Nocturne Released August 22nd
I have not, nor have I ever been, a good reviewer when faced with hardcore releases. Not to say that I’m not a fan. Converge’s Jane Doe has held me over on some long nights and Fucked Up’s Hidden World can be heard blasting from my car stereo on a regular basis. Though my listening habits embellish my true feelings for the genre frequently, I find my tongue tied when trying to describe the better points of such bands. Few HxC bands, that deem themselves so, step outside of the garden variety construct of the genre, leaving a dissipating novelty and harsh realization that the gig may be up. The Human Abstract, via Hopeless Records and out of Los Angeles, are hopelessly less adhesive to the hardcore’s waning innovation, thus absolving me of the duty of touching on the same ol’ bases.
Nocturne’s opening, closing, and various interludes in between should be a testament to the band’s willingness to try something new. A roundabout Italian-classical piece awkwardly takes its place in front of twelve blistering tracks, forerunning The Human Abstract’s love for breakneck neo-classical guitar riffs intermixed with worn-in hardcore breakdowns. In fact, “Harbinger” is the best possible track the band could’ve picked to introduce uninitiated listeners with the band’s eclectic, yet familiar, tone. Though this collective carry the same ethics as predecessors and contemporaries alike, Nocturne is slightly more accessible than, let’s say, Calico System’s headache inducing failures and Shai Hulud’s step-up. Dean Herrera’s unique guitar technique make THM more the proverbial non-alcoholic beer, although it will come off more attractive than the previously mentioned Frat House throwaway.
Refreshingly so, cliché lyrical diarrhea is absent. Yeah! No shit about “burning down the city” or “Kill the bitch! KILL THE BITCH” will be found here. In fact, a brief poem on the top of the lyrics pull-out suggests a storyline of some sort; which wouldn’t be far-fetched as the reoccurring Italian instrumental interludes suggest some form of artistic unity throughout the album. Tracks such as “Sotto Voce” and “Desiderata” are interesting instrumental meanderings in the vein of music I don’t normally find myself listening too, but it hinders the pace of the album significantly. “Echelons to Molotovs”, one of the hardest tracks on the album fades abruptly into a four-minute acoustic amble you’d imagine hearing be played on some corner in Sicily.
Nocturne certainly does grow on you, as the charms of unnecessary, but fulfilling interludes, and the sheer insanity of the majority of the guitar riffs become less trying the more they’re worn-in. In fact, they’re the only dissimilar aspects The Human Abstract have to separate themselves from the countless other acts eager to hit the scene with the necessary ingredients to get a mental ass whooping from yours truly.
My lukewarm response to such a genre as hardcore has put me as unease with the local Georgia scene, a notoriously brutal one. However, Nocturne has loosened my grip with whatever kept me from easing out of “This sounds like this” reviewing mode with such a (often) monotonous community. Adamant about proving a point by means of audio aggression, The Human Abstract will alleviate inept fans such as myself to a tranquil acceptance for a genre so DIY-sunk and idealistically snug.