With the scorching guitar work included on The Human Abstract's new effort "Nocturne" you'd almost expect the band to launch into a falsetto-led tour of duty through a dragon-infested dungeon. But rather than dip into the power metal arena, this group thankfully inject their wealth of technical talent into a somewhat 'abstract' metal approach that is bent on bridging both European and American influences.
Bands like Into Eternity and Between The Buried And Me spring to mind when listening to "Nocturne", yet neither comparison truly fits. For while The Human Abstract surely do have elements of more traditional Euro metal within their sound, they tend to remain flexible, treading a delicate balance between European grace and North American brutality. Thus, when sweeping arpeggios meet headfirst against a thunderous breakdown, the contrast actually invigorates.
Expectedly, traces of prog and jazz (composition wise at least) are also found throughout this album and add extra brawn to the beefy riff repertoire. But perhaps the most surprising aspect of The Human Abstract lies in their predominantly clean vocals which recall that of a less goofier Look What I Did. Nearly all the words spoken are sung in an emphatic, yet loose demeanor that avoids both the cookie monster and Halford cliches. Yes, they are a bit rough around the edges and can be borderline screamo at times, they still give the music far more dignity than one would expect.
Still, when it all boils down to it, the versatile guitar work remains the star of the show here, whether it be delicate acoustic strums or carpal tunnel inducing shredding. The exquisite six string performance, mixed with the bands entirely competent playing, makes for some interesting music that will pique the interest of many. The only pressing issue is that while The Human Abstract have the chops, they haven't entirely figured out how they want to position them and leave more than a few moments a bit too open-ended and non-committal. Barring that though, "Nocturne" remains an impressive debut from a group who thankfully take the road less traveled on their quest for success.
(3.5 / 5)