Nocturne review by The Human Abstract

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  • Released: Aug 22, 2006
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.3 (131 votes)
The Human Abstract: Nocturne
7

Sound — 10
The Human Abstract is a relatively new band in the progressive/metal/hardcore scene. But that certainly doesn't stop them from being an interestingly original and talented group. I found out about them when I was looking through Myspace for innovative artists. Then, a fateful click on THA's profile quickly blossomed into an obsession. I immediately went out and bought Nocturne, but only after listening through all of the tracks presented on their Myspace player quite a few times. Their first full-length album showcases the dueling guitars of A.J. Minette and Dean Herrera, melting in with the raging yells, screams, and melodies of Nathan Ells. A.J. is a guitar prodigy, pulling off complex and rapid riffs, scales, technical progressions, and complex solos. Bassist Kenny Aerhart and drummer Brett Powell keep the beat steady for the rest of the band. From there, the university music theory training of Minette's really shines. All instruments integrate into an exploding rush, strangely reminiscent of classical elements as well as being very much metal.

Lyrics — 9
Nathan Ells' volatile vocal ideas aren't quite there for you to absorb in completeness and still be sane. With a name from a British poet, an album named after a form of classical composition, and song names in Latin and/or concerning concepts of life, the content of the vocals aren't exactly surprising. The focus is of living's troubles, betrayals, losses, confrontations, challenges, pressures, and the simple act of surviving. Ells' vocals range from harmonious whispers, abrasive growls, committed yells, to old-fashioned singing. Although I have to say that singing is definitely not the strongest point of THA, it holds it's own in the cyclone of musicianship. Song listing: 01. Harbinger - it starts acoustic, but quickly, the progressive metal sound breaks through. Simple vocals complement scale-like guitar shredding. It is a perfect introduction to the rest of the album. Portrayal of an awakening and a new beginning. 02. Self Portraits Of The Instincts - the track which I have the most trouble listening to. The ideas present are good, but they don't integrate nearly as well as the other songs. Random abstract ideas that compose humanity's dark side. 03. Nocturne - perfect choice for title track. It is definitely the most progressive song on the CD. Each instrument does it's own act while Ells' pulls off his best vocal performance (on Nocturne). All of the pieces fall together to make a masterpiece of a song. Forget 'em. Honestly, just enjoy the song. 04. Crossing The Rubicon - the second catchiest vocal work on Nocturne. More progressive and technical elements are present. Guitars take slightly more of a background. About revenge, respect, and hardening of the soul. 05. Sotto Voce - an instrumental. Don't skip over this song, though; it leads into Mea Culpa nicely and also is a great experience in it's own. 06. Mea Culpa - undeniably, the most likable song here. The metal takes more of a background as a more alternative/punk atmosphere takes over. It is the best song to start THA with. The tipping of the scales and relationships. 07. Movement From Discord - ups the energy from Mea Culpa. Perhaps it is the heaviest song on Nocturne (but maybe not - you decide). This song can really get your adrenaline up. Concerns heroism and the pressure of meeting expectations. 08. Channel Detritus - one of the best songs on the album. This track has the most unclean vocals (which still isn't too much, mind you). Determination, overcoming challenges. 09. Polaris - my favorite song by THA. It contains the best guitar work in the album. "Face the change." Take action over inaction (don't be lazy). 10. Echelons To Motolovs - fairly good. The ingenuity still shines through clearly even though the bulb is gathering dust. The powers of the rich and influential. 11. Desiderata - another instrumental. This one is longer and changes a few times. The piano outro at the end is sometimes heard with the beginning of Vela, Together We Await the Storm. Don't skip this track either. This is where the bulb of ingenuity is cleaned. 12. Vela, Together We Await The Storm - a great song. The light shines clearly. More personal feelings are expressed by the band through the vocals and the harsh screaming at the beginning is a welcome addition. The end fades with "Gone, so many friends and lovers/So far, nothing to show in turn" being repeated over and over, leaving you feeling empty yet fulfilled in the experience of experiencing Nocturne.

Overall Impression — 10
The Human Abstract is a progressive metal band, with some hardcore, mathcore, alternative, and classical influences. The sound is big, abrasive, over-the-top. Insanely difficult guitar parts are swept through by the guitarists A.J. Minette and Dean Herrera. Growling and melodic vocals and supplied by Nathan Ells. The bassist is Kenny Aerhart, and Brett Powell is counting to four on drums. Classical-influenced metal, with yells, screams, growls, and clean vocals. Guitars play scale-based and other theory based progressions and solos. Riffs are energetic, diverse, and complicated. Great musicianship is certainly one of THA's noble qualities. Songs are catchy, yet progressive. Listening to Nocturne is like sleeping. The dreams feature monsters of living, and serene images of random things. Everything is wrapped together so it feels right; however, as you look closer, it all explodes into your face and the stunning beauty of it all surrounds. And then you wake up, and you think, "Let's do that again."

31 comments sorted by best / new / date

    AXE187
    Vela together we await the storm.... one of the best songs of the 21st century
    gibsonLP68
    Oh yea, and A.J., their lead guitarist, quit, and they picked up some other guy. Im really sad.
    guitar_hero543
    True I_Am_In_Flames, well said, this band is amazing, at first i never liked metal but i can't help but enjoy listening to these guys play cause they put so much care and skill into their riffs, and the mixing metal with classical really helps too, and apparently they're the nicest guys ever. I'm sad that a.j minette left the band but i'm also keeping a close eye on him cause if he were to make a band then they would be absolutely amazing because the reason he said he left was because he was tired of playing metal, and he wrote most of THA's music so it'd be like having 2 human abstracts, one metal and one regular rock, i really hope he does something, great band, great musicians, great guys, what more could you ask for in a band?
    I_Am_In_Flames
    detailsoniceman wrote: THIS BAND IS A RIP OFF! everyone check out Between the buried and me, and mainly their cd "the silent circus. COMEON GUYS they're good guitarists and musicians but this sound has been done too many damn times.
    I believe this is the only sound that hasn't been done enough times.
    I_Am_In_Flames
    C&C Magik wrote: gibsonLP68 wrote: Merkaba_46&2 wrote: They are fine, but Between The Buried and Me does it way way better. Nobody said they were better than BTBAM. Both of these bands, along with protest the hero, are keeping the music fresh and original I agree, except BTBAM's vocals turn me away. Everyone recommends me them, and I try, but idk, I think I'm still going to give them a few more tries. But Protest the Hero and The Human Abstract are amazing.
    Agreed man its tha exact same way with me with BTBAM ..the vocals are horrible.. they needa learn how to scream.
    I_Am_In_Flames
    bon_harrington wrote: THese guys SUCK! THey are horrible, how they got a record deal is beyond me..... I can sit and scream into a microphone too, maybe i should send there record company my demo... Horrible band
    Are you ****in serious dude? How they got a record deal has NOTHING to do with screaming.. their wicked ass rhytmic drummer, virtouso like guitarists and song craftmanship are simply amazing.. nothing more sorry man but you a jackass lol
    bananaboy
    JustinTino wrote: when the shit did music become more about vocals than actual music?
    Since humans started writing vocal music? Think 1100 AD onwards. If you're concerned with rock music, think the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Nirvana, Guns n Roses, Elvis, all of which were more about vocals than anything. It wasn't until prog-rock became moderately popular in the 60's and 70's that music became the focus. And that's a very narrow spectrum of popular music. That's not to say vocals can't come with good music, but you're an idiot to say that in vocal music, the music has ever been the focus.
    SeanHart213
    i love their instrumentals, but as many people pointed out, the pop-metal vocals make me feel like a "HxC" 14 year old when i listen to them. i would really like them to find a new direction with their vocals because lets face, only 10% of metal is about the vocals but that 10% can ruin a band. outstanding musicians still. they should collaberate with russell allen and make a masterpiece
    rebofthetemple
    This band is great by me, any mathcore/technical metal band with vocals i can actually understand i fall in love with. Though the shredding sections can use improvement i think, the entire song doesn't need to be based around a shred riff, slow, less complicated songs are good too. Metal's getting to technical now, its almost manditory to be able to shred 16th notes at 210 bpm.
    glowskulls
    yeah, admittedly, the vocals suck. but i've known about these guys for about a year now and they're climbing up my favorites list with every listen, sure they'll never beat brand new or parkway, but i'll never forget them. evs.
    hethamulburton
    Personally, I enjoyed this band for a few listens, but when your music focuses on shredding guitars without any true sense of melody, it gets extremely old, really fast. I think people will like this band for a few listens, then pick out a song or two that encapsulates everything this band is and just stick with them. It's bands like this and PTH, along with metal acts like Necrophagist that fit the bill of 'hear one song, you've heard them all.'
    C&C Magik
    gibsonLP68 wrote: Merkaba_46&2 wrote: They are fine, but Between The Buried and Me does it way way better. Nobody said they were better than BTBAM. Both of these bands, along with protest the hero, are keeping the music fresh and original
    I agree, except BTBAM's vocals turn me away. Everyone recommends me them, and I try, but idk, I think I'm still going to give them a few more tries. But Protest the Hero and The Human Abstract are amazing.
    gibsonLP68
    MustangMan311 wrote: Terrible, terrible band. Horrible vocals, terrible song writing. I respect their playing ability, but nothing else.
    That didn't even make ****ing sense. Dumbass.
    Merkaba_46&2 wrote: They are fine, but Between The Buried and Me does it way way better.
    Nobody said they were better than BTBAM. Both of these bands, along with protest the hero, are keeping the music fresh and original
    Demonikk
    crasstastic wrote: ZeRoGuY wrote: when will hardcore die? it sure needs too... god all these guys do live is stick their crotches in the faces of the people in the front row showing off sweeps in EVERY SONG! I didn't hear any structure to a song just SWEEPS! SOLOS! MELODIES! that's IT god it was annoying they just grab attention cause they can play fast. they are so out of place on tour with God Forbid, Goat*****, and Mnemic... they are frickin emo kids trying to play metal, or better known as "hardcore"
    Uhm if you're hearing sweep picking in hardcore you're probably not listening to hardcore
    MustangMan311
    Terrible, terrible band. Horrible vocals, terrible song writing. I respect their playing ability, but nothing else.
    grunger
    bon_harrington wrote: THese guys SUCK! THey are horrible, how they got a record deal is beyond me..... I can sit and scream into a microphone too, maybe i should send there record company my demo... Horrible band
    ARE YOU GAY?
    Cobalt Blue
    a friend of mine played 'Crossing The Rubicon' for me at school, the instrumentation I found awesome.. but wasn't a fan of the guys voice.
    C&C Magik
    Seeing them March 9th, by the way, 4 days after my birthday. I'm so pumped.
    C&C Magik
    listening to this CD right now for the first time, and wow. I'm on Channel Detrius and its blowing me away. I've heard Vela and Polaris before this, but wow, i didn't think they were this good.
    The Spoon
    ZeRoGuY wrote: when will hardcore die? it sure needs too... god all these guys do live is stick their crotches in the faces of the people in the front row showing off sweeps in EVERY SONG! I didn't hear any structure to a song just SWEEPS! SOLOS! MELODIES! that's IT god it was annoying they just grab attention cause they can play fast. they are so out of place on tour with God Forbid, Goat*****, and Mnemic... they are frickin emo kids trying to play metal, or better known as "hardcore"
    Song structure is overated. Sure it can be a good thing, and if a song is way too unstructered, it can be bad. But im tired of hearing verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus-outro. Im glad its all random Sometimes the guitar parts are annoying, but its a good album most of the time
    Neverhead666
    i illegally downloaded this cd off the internet, and then like 2 months later my computer crashed. i guess i deserved. but then i decided to buy the album and put it on my computer, its well worht 10-15 bucks you would spend on it, the only reason you wouldnt like this album is if your not a metal fan or your not into screaming.
    hitek008
    Reminds me of BTBAM, guitarist's sound cool but the vocals,just kinda irritating.
    SL!!!
    Demonikk wrote: crasstastic wrote: ZeRoGuY wrote: when will hardcore die? it sure needs too... god all these guys do live is stick their crotches in the faces of the people in the front row showing off sweeps in EVERY SONG! I didn't hear any structure to a song just SWEEPS! SOLOS! MELODIES! that's IT god it was annoying they just grab attention cause they can play fast. they are so out of place on tour with God Forbid, Goat*****, and Mnemic... they are frickin emo kids trying to play metal, or better known as "hardcore" Uhm if you're hearing sweep picking in hardcore you're probably not listening to hardcore
    Yeah, if you're that conservative. I mean, you can probably put it under hardcore, but if you want to be more accurate you could go with metalcore, so forth and so on..you know, sub categories and all of that, but when it comes down to it, if it's awesome, and they seem to be true to what they're doing, then...it's good..that's about it. And wow, the guy who goes on about "emo kids" trying to play metal and says there is no structure to the songs...what the ****? Does this guy know anything about music? If you write a song and it has a time signature (it's not whatever you call it where you just play notes in a certain amount of time w/out noted values) then that's structure. Crasstastic needs to get his head out of his ass.
    duhpunk
    Hahaha. some of the people who posted on here crack me up. This album has no similarities to "The Silent Circus", other than overall complexity...although, i think Nocturne is slightly more technical. These guys are some of the best guitarists I've heard in a while. I'm not a big fan of the vocals, but they're not too terrible that I can't listen to them. I have yet to see them live, so I can't comment on their performance, but this review is about their album, not their live show. People are too quick to generalize a band without getting a good grip on their music...not just one casual listen of a couple of songs. I normally have to be in the mood to listen to new bands, so when my friend made me listen to these guys, I was thinking "ughhh....i hope it's not Parkway Drive again...", but they blew me away, and I got their album that day.