Progressive metal core, djent or simply progressive metal new style is pretty hot nowadays. Bands like Periphery, Between The Buried And Me and Protest The Hero are making quite a name for themselves nowadays. The Human Abstract is another rising star in this genre. Midheaven is their second full length album and it’s the centre piece of this review.
One of the distinguishing features of Midheaven is the wide range of influences and different styles displayed on the album. There are small hints of jazz, seventies rock, psychedelics, surf and even some pop music here and there. Bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Mars Volta and Between The Buried And Me come to mind here, however The Human Abstract manage to give it their own progressive spin. Despite all the different influences Midheaven is as cohesive as they come.
The core of the band’s sound reminds me of technical styled progressive metal/core, which is displayed on songs like A Violent Strike, Breathing Life Into Devices, Metanoia and Counting Down The Days. A band like Byzantine comes into view as well, though the aforementioned songs are filled to the brim with all kinds of jazzy interludes and other exotic niceties.
The second half of Midheaven shows a gentle change of pace. Tracks like The Path, Echoes Of The Spirit and A Dead World At Sunrise are more influenced by progressive rock. The allready mentioned A Dead World At Sunrise is entirely keyboard driven. Echoes Of The Spirit has a distinct industrial feel to it, but it’s a straightforward rock song with catchy hooks included. Calm In The Chaos is somewhat of a power ballad with acoustic guitar and piano parts. It’s on those tracks where singer Nathan Ells really shines.
What I really like about Midheaven is the band’s audacity to look beyond the confines of their music and incorporate all kinds of different musical influences into their music. At the same time they manage to forge all those elements into a cohesive record. Not many can pull that off and get away with it. This makes Midheaven such a strong and memorable effort. Well done!
Written by Raymond Westland