Abandon All Hope are a hardcore metal band who formed in 2006 in Adelaide, Australia. In 2007 they released, 'Where Life and Death Meet' and in 2011 they released, 'Prowler' which has been given to me for review. I'm pretty sure I've seen them around the local metal circuit a few times over the years. According to their Facebook profile, the band split up earlier this year. Since this CD has been patiently waiting in my pile a while, I thought I would review their work anyway.
Prowler - The music fades in and creates an explosive sound. It is upbeat, intense and loud from the very first hit. The vocals are growled out but are not of a death style. You can somewhat interpret them, though having the lyrics at hand definitely helps. The drums pound away in a timely manner as the guitars set the rhythms to thrash along to. There are a few moments where there is a masculine group vocal chant - a great spot for audience interaction. It is fairly consistent throughout the track, though there are some variations within the musical structure to keep the listener intrigued. It is overall a very heavy track and a good one at that.
"Drinking from a fancy glass, She thinks she's all class, Dressed to the nines she's a snake in the grass, Everyone wants to fuck you, But no one will ever love you, She turned down the heart of a saint for a man with a name..."
Heads You Win - The music in this one is also heavy and intense and is very masculine in its approach and delivery. It is very much the style of music where one would let out all of their built up stress and aggression within what might be a rather brutal pit. This style of music all sounds very similar with only slight variations in the overall sound. But it is not the variations one looks for in this music as such as the overall feel of the music - and the feeling I get is anger and the need to release it.
"When you prick yourself we're the ones who bleed, I wish you could have heard your own eulogy, I pity the lonely notes you left unsung, I wish you knew how much you meant to everyone..."
Self Pity City - A distorted guitar note and drum roll lures us into this next track. The drum beat has kicked up a notch, increasing the tempo. The guitars create a catchy rhythm to follow. The vocals are quite monotonous in their sound, as it is just yelling really and yelling gets quite stagnant. However, the vocals and music all match up perfectly to create an aggressive metal conglomeration. At the end of this track, a group vocal chant appears to finish it off.
"Burn down the sky and drown the ocean, Like cattle we race to die, Share a drink with the moon and fall asleep in the tide, Water logged yet burnt alive with my wooden friend by my side..."
Mind Surrender - The aggression continues alongside the well paced drums, guitar melodies and hostile vocals. There are elements of this band which remind me of Machine Head, though Abandon All Hope are very much of their own design. They have incorporated many moments throughout this album thus far, which allows for audience interaction. This is obviously a good thing for any band to do. It may also be, that because of this, it helps this band to stand out that much more than the others within this genre. Either way, it works and I like it.
"Life is assumed by the living to have purpose and worth, A billion minds programmed by those who lived here first, The evolution of consciousness gave birth to opinion, Which evolved in human culture and spawned religion..."
Sleep At The Mercy Of Nightmares - There is much strength within the music and it is relayed with an impenetrable force. It does however, tend to get quite muddy the more I listen to the album. For me, listening to the whole album in one sitting is not a good idea. I can appreciate it that much more listening to the individual tracks at random points in time, than I can all in one hit. When they stand alone, they are great! But when they are heard one after the other, they lose their quality or any distinction. So I have spread out the listening to this album over a few days in order to get a more balanced view. This song has good elements, though it does not stand out in comparison to the rest.
"Only blood red hate and coal black greed, Occupy that tiny space where a heart should be, In a world beyond fiction and TV, I speak of those who govern us with this anatomy..."
What I've Lost - This next track is also filled with strength and vitality. The pace has not dropped at all during this album thus far. It has an intensity I think most of you will find appealing. For me, this style of music is not something to focus on and indulge in, but it is something I prefer to have on in the background whilst I go about my tasks. Music is absorbed and appreciated differently to everyone, but the fact this has a place at all is what matters and makes it a good thing.
"Time never stops ticking and this hurt brain never stops thinking, About all the things I should have done different, But I can't just go on with my life without wishing, That I treated her right and that she could be here with me for the rest of my life..."
The Book Of Crossroads - This next track is an instrumental and it starts out quite gentle. It gathers force at about 01:00 and blasts out its metallic emotion until its temperate end.
Floods - Straight into this next one with hammering drums and a repetitive guitar melody. The sound engineering in this is ok though has room for improvement. There are some good additions to the musical structure but it is overall quite repetitive and monotonous. To me, this style of music is like a fight. It can be either well planned and executed, random and clumsy or like a brawl. This is like a brawl. It is constant, confronting and in-your-face.
"Two thousand years of Chinese whispers, misinterpretation and burning witches, Ethnic cleansing for theoretic scriptures, heresy stonings and burning crucifixes, Let's amuse that you're right and that we can defy space and time..."
Bury Yourself Upside Down - Here we have the shortest track on the album with a duration of 01: 45. Continuing on from my last fight analogy, this one is like a one-on-one fight with punch after punch. It is very intense and filled with an enraged strength.
"He wasn't killed by men; he died from a broken heart, Watching his father do nothing as they ripped him apart, His blood poured onto the paper and was immortalized in art..."
The Urgency Of Time - This is the final track on the album and also the longest with a duration of 04:13. The drums are fairly consistent as they hammer out their upbeat tempo. The vocals continue to belt out their frustrations and also incorporate the choral chants. The guitars aren't very stand out in any of the tracks, they just relay a simple melody to play along to. That is, don't expect any kick ass leads or anything like that. They are really just tools to help set the scene of strength. It is an expected end to the album. Note, it is not that it is a bad track, it is simply the monotony of the album which dulls any excitement for me.
"My old skin is beginning to peel, The void has been filled, I feel a sense of worth, , For the first time since birth, The air much sweeter now and two hearts beat twice as loud, I burn photographs of a wasted past and construct a future built to last..."
In essence, Abandon All Hope have created an intense album for us to enjoy. Personally, I do not like monotonous music, especially when having to review an entire album track by track. This does not mean the music isn't any good. It is merely that as an album, the songs do not get the individual respect that they deserve. Everything blends and becomes muddy and repetitive. But this is how this style of music is. On one hand, it is up to the band to acknowledge this as a problem and improve upon it. On the other hand, as it is a known issue, then I should just grin and bear it. As I mentioned earlier, the music to me is something I would prefer to have on in the background as I go about my tasks; whether socially or working or just stuffing around the house. But the fact it has a place in my life is a good thing. It is just a matter of finding its place in your life. I may not be jumping up and down in hysterics proclaiming its magnificence, but I do appreciate the music
and think many of you will enjoy it.
The CD I received is the in-store version. The cover has a drawing of a person with antlers, fire coming out of their head and hands and what I think is a jaw stemming from their stomach. Behind the figure is perhaps a sun with bloodied rays of light searing from it. Inside the sleeve are all the lyrics. In the centre of the sleeve is that same drawing. There is also a live band picture. On the inside of the back of the sleeve are the band member names and positions. On the back of the sleeve are all the thanks and recording information. The CD itself is black with the album name splattered over it in a shade of yellow. Underneath the CD slot is a blackened sun. On the very back of the CD is a faintly numbered track listing circling a pale sun drawing. Basically, if you like your hardcore, or any core for that matter, then you will definitely like this. Even though they may have split up, music is forever, especially when it's still available for purchase!
Check them out for yourself on the links below.
Abandon All Hope Myspace
Abandon All Hope Facebook
Buy Abandon All Hope
Abandon All Hope Twitter
Abandon All Hope Last FM
Review by Déa di Morté © 07 May 2012
All pictures and lyrical extracts courtesy of Abandon All Hope