I Am Abomination – Passion Of The Heist

From the band name to the extreme creativity on their new digital EP Passion Of The Heist, Michigan progressive post hardcore band I Am Abomination surprise and impress. If unaware of the band the name gives expectation of a death metal band or a sonically challenging sound. Well the duo certainly produce the aggression and power to rival most but align it with some of the most enterprising melodies and artistry heard this year so far.

The debut album To Our Forefathers on Good Fight Music gained great critical acclaim and returning via the same label on July 19th with Passion Of The Heist, one can only see that enthusiasm for their music enhanced and increased. The EP from vocalist Phil Druyor and guitarist Nick Sampson is described by them as a concept album which is easy to see but as well as the obvious sci-fi theme it also carries an inner personal struggle interpretation too. The lyrics for the EP were written by Brandon Good and wonderfully composed they are, words that when the band posted the lyrics to a couple of songs created great debate and opinion on the theme and religious thoughts of the band itself. They are lyrics that can be interpreted in different ways by individuals although as mentioned it has the obvious theme to it too.

The release was produced, written, engineered, mixed and mastered by guitarist Nick Sampson at his New Boston studio and there is no other word to use for it except inspired. There are virtually no flaws and those one can bring up are just related to personal tastes like the fade out of the wonderful track ‘Transformation’. Fade outs always gives the impression the band did not know how to end the track to some but to others it is not an issue at all. The track itself is excellent and soulful and as throughout the EP Druyor’s voice is a joy as he soars with the notes and words.  

Opening track ‘Vivification’, a very cinematic like intro sets the theme as alien sounds and tension ripples out of the speakers making the context obvious though it could be the soundtrack to the worst barbers shop in existence too. ‘Abduction’ takes over and instantly shows the band have not only kept the high level from their debut but taken many steps further. Sampson’s music and play is exemplary and matched and complimented completely by Druyor. The riffs, stabbing guitar attacks, and stunning solos are exceedingly pleasurable and with the added electronic sounds there is a fully rounded and unique feel.

The first track released by I Am Abomination as a taster to the album was ‘Examination’ and to mass acclaim from critics and fans alike. It is no surprise as the track is the best on Passion Of The Heist, the throbbing bass, driving riffs and beautiful melodies gel perfectly, and the brass like inserts are delightful. The track is big, a song that consumes with a wave of satisfaction and will be the favourite of most amongst an EP of tremendous ideas and realisation.

The band has a guest vocalist on ‘Ascension’ in the form of Attack Attack’s frontman Caleb Shomo. The contrast between the two men works perfectly, Shomo’s harsher voice against the smooth flow of Druyor a great fit and actually brings up the other small point that maybe the EP could have used some more moments of growls and grunts to break up the slight Fall Out Boy vocal feel elsewhere. Again it is just a personal taste thing as the truth is every song is that good that any change would not truly enhance a song.

The closing track ‘Invasion’ is the perfect end, not only as a wonderful track but it kind of sums up why the EP is so good; inspired ideas, musical skill, engulfing melodies and the total passion. I Am Abomination in Passion Of The Heist EP just might have your release of the year. http://www.facebook.com/iamabominationmusic


Pete RingMaster 12/07/2011

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Harvest – Years of Defiance. Years Of Disgust

For five years Harvest set the pace for hardcore/metal core before separating back in 1999. In that period the band released many eagerly consumed singles and the albums Living With A God Complex and Transitions in 1997 and ’98 respectively. After eleven years 2010 saw vocalist Dave Walker and guitarist Dan Zimmerman re-form Harvest alongside drummer Adam Patterson. They brought in the skills of guitarist Mike Duffy (Endeavor) and bassist Jon Mcaab of (The Good Fight) and on August 2nd will release their EP Years of Defiance. Years Of Disgust on Good Fight Music.

Years of Defiance. Years Of Disgust is a 7” vinyl and digital release consisting of two new tracks ‘Our Legacy’ and ‘Death is Not Enough’, as well as the last track written but unreleased back  in 1999 ‘Torture Inhibition’, plus a new version of ‘Slow Burn’.  The digital package on iTunes includes an extra track in a new version of ‘Conditioned’.

Though the members of Harvest are separated by immense distances vocalist Walker states “We are more than inspired to write the next chapter of HARVEST. We will continue to write, record and play as many shows as we can, despite being in three countries, four cities and all very much involved in our families and careers,” and he adds. “We believe in what we’re doing and couldn’t be more excited to be playing live again!”  Written and recorded in three different cities; Minneapolis, Toronto, and Sao Paulo, Brazil, Years of Defiance. Years Of Disgust is a strong starter for their ambition and ability to achieve their aim.  

The notable thing about the release is it is a clear reminder for the genre of its roots and a slap in the face for forgetting the elements that made hardcore essential music. The new songs sit perfectly alongside the reworked older tracks showing a strong consistence which is missing amongst many current bands.

The first track on the release is ‘Our Legacy’ and possibly the best, it’s threatening riffs and incessant grinding groove impressive. The guitars grab hold eagerly whilst the bass and drums kick to the gut creating a perfect blend capped by the raw coarseness of Walker’s voice. He has one of those voices that works for people or not and at times feels strained but certainly it adds to the sound not detracts.  Second of the new songs is ‘Death Is Not Enough’ and though not as instantly inviting as the opener it is as strong. A great throbbing bassline leads the way as the guitars bore into the ear.

Torture Inhibition’ barges in next and there is no drop in levels or sound. This could easily have been written alongside the new songs and not a decade earlier. The music drives hard and is impressive yet again, though to be fair that applies to all the tracks. It rides a good line between hard damaging aggression and eager inviting hooks and melodies, almost teasing with the two elements. ‘Soul Burn’ brings up the rear of the regular release again driving firmly into the ear.

The additional track on the digital release is certainly worth the check as your preferred purchase. ‘Conditioned’ is vibrant and angry and benefits from a new work over and the clear incisive production technology today can give.

Harvest are back and not simply to make up the numbers and their EP Years of Defiance. Years Of Disgust is a statement of intent in the aim of to righting a few wrongs in hardcore as well as passing commentary on the world today.

Pete Ringmaster 12/07/2011

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