THE HUMAN ABSTRACT
The Human Abstract return with their sophomore effort, the conceptual 10-track release titled MIDHEAVEN. Chock full of prog-rock excess, poppy hooks, and flashy instrumental flourishes, this California outfit, now a quintet thanks to the addition of an omnipresent keyboardist, merge screamy Warped Tour punk rock pretense with odd-metered time signatures and spots of metallic musical chaos filtered in for a scattershot listening experience. Tracks like "Calm in the Chaos" could have come from old school Dream Theater archives, while cuts like the schizophrenic "Breathing Life Into Devices" and "Metanoia" showcases glimpses of this group's past direction rounded out with a mainstream sound that could have come from bands such as Avenged Sevenfold or Between the Buried and Me. Despite parts of this disc shining (especially guitar-wise), the overall vibe radiated by this slipshod affair seems a bit too self-absorbed and muddled to make a lasting impression, as the band's lineup changes and stylistic shiftings seemingly still need some time to sink in.