Saturday, June 4, 2016

Abstracts - Hologram (2016 Bonsai Bonus)

Actually a full-length album, this nearly thirty minute release is a bit out of my comfort zone, but I'm a huge fan of Japanese tunes (as you know) so I actually found it a bit more interesting than perhaps an American approach to the music. Abstracts are a melodic sort of djent-core that I normally wouldn't review, except for the fact that I found their clean vocals to be rather memorable, as I've always felt the Japanese clean vocal style to be heavily more passionate than that of the English language. Take the title cut for instance. Regardless of the fact that there's a kind of ham-fisted harsh vocal approach utilized on the track, the clean chorus is so powerful that it completely overshadows the background harsh vocals. The same can be said for “Carat” which actually uses the harsh approach a bit more, but seems to deliver in the chorus number. The band also use some electronic effects and filters with the vocals, which I think are pretty cool. Musically, we can't really expect much different than we've heard with several djent acts which is kind of a wash, but that's the sound they were going for. I will say that there's a little bit more melody in the guitar here than with some acts, but that harsh vocal approach is going to absolutely ruin the disc for most of you. Even I can't get around “Vision” which has no cleans and “Mirror” which just didn't gel all that well for me. I did find a pretty killer cut in “Ancient” which almost equals out to the title cut for me and that's more or less the album's closing cut with “Gemini” being a decent enough instrumental. It really takes off when we actually hear a very strong lead melody come into the mix (something they could have used on the rest of the album) but that's really about it, aside from the background electronics which make the piece sound a bit shiny. There's also a bonus cut called “Siberia” which should have benefited from not being a bonus cut at the end of the album. In any case, it's obvious that these Japanese are trying to emulate their western peers and certainly have the style and flow down, it's just not really my type of metal aside from most of the clean portions, melodies and the soft atmospheric vibe that some of these sections contain when they're not being saturated with djent riffs. If you like this kind of music, then you may like the Japanese take on it, but I don't think I'd recommend it to any random metalhead. There are much better acts doing this kind of stuff right now, but perhaps with time Abstracts will branch out a bit more and become something truly unique.

(10 Tracks, 27:00)


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