With a name like Hateful Abandon you could expect this lot to be some sort of doom death conglomeration but they are not as I found out picking up their interesting looking last release 2011 album ‘Move’ on the cheap on a well-known internet auction site. Instead this duo from Bristol made up from Vice Martyr and Swine (from the band Salute) immersed me in a sound of post punk, Gothic and industrial bands from days of yore. Each song on it had me reminiscing about other groups who I had grown up with and naturally as soon as this popped up for review I was keen to explore things further.
‘Maze Of Bastards’ has cold synth lines brooding in and a very recognisable sample straight out a George Orwell novel that everyone should instantly recognise. Clunking machinery takes up an industrial sound reminiscent of the likes of SPK and Einstürzende Neubauten and big stadium etched vocal roars indignantly join in as this pulses and churns away taking you into its dark dystopian world. There band name is perfect there is certainly plenty of hate here and a feeling of apocalyptic abandonment too, it’s like a state controlled factory of fear as it stomps and marches onwards. A bouncy retro old school synth line comes next as Culprit sounds like it has escaped from the synth pop age but with more of a feel of bands such as GGFH and even early Ministry about it. Vocals are now complimenting this in a clear and melodic fashion and with the focus on melodic surges and a coldwave organic pulse it really gets under the skin. Some piano parts fragrantly pepper the piece and it’s all very futuristic as it twists and turns going into a near trance like instrumental weave. With the vibe coming from this I would expect a song called ‘High Rise’ to look back to dark grey Thatcherite days with buildings springing up and making concrete jungles of our urban cityscapes. There is a bit of that in the industrialised wreckage of the musicianship but also a big emphasis of Middle Eastern melody and chanting making it seem a place of fear and paranoia hiding sinister terrorists ready to unleash destruction and bring it all crashing down.
Musically ‘The Test’ reminds of old Siouxsie And The Banshees, an off cut From Kaleidoscope perhaps as it has that sort of real old keyboard sound to it not a million miles away from a number like ‘Lunar Camel’ and as for the slightly wailing vocals it’s difficult not to think of Robert Smith. There’s a lot of talk about the band amalgamating black metal parts to their craft but I have not found anything really to support that idea and just find myself looking way, way back to this. At times there is a strong soundtrack feel about it, John Carpenter perhaps and all very post-apocalyptic, it’s very much the sound of the end of the world. Much more strident and seething is the rumbling metallic grinding ‘The Walker’ striding off through the wastelands. Vocals are again a bit different, somewhat austere in delivery and reminiscent again of so many others from times gone by. ‘There Will Never Be Peace’ sums up the mood here with a tribal drum bombast with guttural reverb ridden yells and a mechanical and robotic feel about it, one that also strikes as quite alien as it invades the senses offering little in the way of remorse. It’s probably the harshest and most bombastic track on the album and it has a palpable tension running rife throughout it. Everything leads to the last somewhat epic ten minute ‘December’ a perfect number for the time of year. At first listening to the drum rhythm I was reminded of old Sisterhood number Colours but like I said this is the sort of album people are going to hear a lot in. As the vocals join in a shiver runs down the spine and the track virtually takes on the form of classic Joy Division, it really is quite beautiful and poetic in that same sense leaving me to become entranced by its timeless flow. A song of two halves it reaches for the skies with soaring vocals and a very Blade Runner sounding keyboard melody before panoramically reaching a kraut-rockian epoch and finally ebbing out as silence is restored on this dying world.
Hateful Abandon are definitely an intriguing and somewhat experimental signing for Candlelight Records but one that works very well too as the label has done a lot recently to go against the grain moving away from what is expected and bringing a lot of new bands to their roster. I would say that Hateful Abandon are a forward thinking outfit and I am sure for many they will be but for me they completely immersed me in the past and are more than welcome for having done so. Hopefully things can be expanded to a live setting as I am really interested to see these songs translated to the stage
(8/10 Pete Woods)