Los Angeles' THE HUMAN ABSTRACT is one of those bands that takes the core elements of metal and integrates it with a substantial classic influence, mainly in the chord progressions and the beautiful acoustic passages. On "Nocturne", the metal (including a bit of metalcore) components are primarily European-influenced and Swedish-driven. Lots of lofty twin-guitar harmonies and a rhythm section that is both skilled and active combine with some pretty darn good melodies to keep the band just out of reach of a BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME comparison. The act doesn't play it safe, but the tendency of some mix-and-match bands to venture into a confounding number of directions is kept to a minimum here, the emphasis remaining squarely on letting the song itself remain the pivotal component.
The band does have a knack for some pretty catchy melodies, especially on the choruses to songs like "Self Portraits of the Instincts" and "Movement from Discord", the clean vocals stopping short of an emo croon. Rather than an unintelligible growl, the heavier vocals are simply gruff and strong. Shredding is heard at every turn, the band seemingly in love with the now commonplace sweep. Light parts are seamlessly integrated in with the guitar tornadoes, "Crossing the Rubicon" being one such example. Classical acoustic guitars are heard at various points as well, most notably on the instrumental "Sotto Voce". Spanish guitar is heard in sections of the very aggressive "Vela, Together We Await the Storm". A choral-like keyboard effect accents nicely the fast, choppy, and textured "Mea Culpa". The combination of technicality and grace can border on the overwhelming at times, but for the most part the group gets it right.
Though impressive from a musical standpoint, this kind of style mixing in 2006 will no longer blow minds. Still, the classical bent gives "Nocturne" an air of distinction. It is certainly worth checking out, as the guys seem to be onto something here.