Recorded at Red Bull Studios, Santa Monica, California, USA, and Johnny Yuma Recording at Henson Studios, Hollywood, California, USA. Recorded by Jesse E String and Nicolas Essig. Produced by Leonard Simone and Jesse E String. Mixed by Jesse E String. Mastered by Michael Verdick.
- Nathan Ells—Vocals
- Dean Herrera—Guitars
- Andrew Tapley—Guitars
- Brett Powell—Drums and percussion
- Sean Leonard—Piano, B3, Mellatron and Prophet 5
All bass by Sean Hurley except “Breathing life into devices” by Dean Herrera and Sean Hurley; “Metanoia” by Dean Herrera.
- A violent strike
- Procession of the fates
- Breathing life into devices
- The world is a tomb
- The path
- Echoes of the spirit
- Calm in the chaos
- Counting down the days
- A dead world at sunrise (additional vocals by Shenkar)
The Human Abstract are yet another band that I’d never heard of. Formed in Los Angeles, California in 2004 they disbanded in 2011 having released three albums and an EP; “Midheaven” was their second release.
The band seemingly took their name from the title of a William Blake poem published in 1794 in Songs of Experience.
I threw the album on one evening while I was cracking on with some other work and gave it a half listen. It was more melodic and progressive than I was expecting.
Listening to it again in the car a day or two later I found myself caught between two opinions of the album. On one hand I liked the progressive nature of the songs as they wandered where they willed, but there is a lot of post-nu-metal shouty-style rawk that I really don’t connect with.
But fear not, I discovered that if I just keep listening then the progressive element of each song comes to the rescue and quickly whisks the song in another direction.
“A violent strike”, the opening song is a case in point. There must be two or three moments that I really don’t like and just as I’m reaching for the fast-forward button the song morphs and heads in another direction.
Curiously, “Breathing life into devices” (track 3) has an almost pop feel, verging towards gospel and pseudo rap about two thirds of the way through. Not exactly my cup of tea (although I don’t drink tea) but I can appreciate what they did.
There are a few, I guess power ballads might be the best term on this album. “This world is a tomb” is the first. It’s a beautiful song with plenty of piano. “Calm in the chaos” is the second, which rides along an acoustic guitar chord progression for the most part before twisting into an almost mathcore riff. The last is the final track, “A dead world at sunrise” which quietly brings the album to a close.
There are plenty of things for me to like on this album. But then there are enough elements that jar with me to not fully embrace this album as a classic. But it’s not them, it’s me. Definitely a keeper, though. Next…!
Review score: 80%