Hateful Abandon- Liars/Bastards (Candlelight Records)

An industrial work of varying quality

Well, 2015 is upon us and the time has come to shake off the cobwebs of the holidays and get back to the business of reviewing records. But rather than start the year off on a straightforward release, it seems I’ve yet again bogged myself down with another, as we say in the industry, “weird one”.

Hateful Abandon was formed in 2006 by vocalist Vice Martyr. The project was originally rooted in the depressive black metal movement of England’s midlands, which they married with a post-punk influence on their first album. But soon the project moved far away from that and now on this, their third album, there’s very little in the way of metal to be found on offer.

Instead, what we’re treated to here is a ponderous mix of industrial, post-punk and gothic the quality of which varies between engaging and mind-numbingly dull. Opening track Maze of Bastards swells with menace and harnesses the Black Sabbath tritone through its industrial lens. Culprit, the second track and album highlight bounces along merrily enough with an almost danceable synth line and post-punk gloom. There’s very little in the way of metallic sheen to be found on this album, or even traditional rock instrumentation. Instead, there’s a much greater focus on creating atmosphere through electronic instrumentation. This at times works to great effect like on the aforementioned song Culprit, but can also be rather tedious to sit through at times. The song High Rise is probably the album’s most metallic, containing something that resembles a heavy riff, but it also plods along at an irritating and repetitious pace, with Martyr constantly half belching out the title like he has a bad case of indigestion. 

There’s been a lot of ado lately that the next stage in the evolution of “extreme” music is to completely remove metal from the equation, to take the aesthetics of extreme metal and filter it through a different musical lens. I cannot be certain that this was the intent that Hateful Abandon had when making this record, but that’s what it feels like. However, this feels much less like a “next step” than it does a blueprint, something incomplete others can improve and build on in the future.

Liars/Bastards is out now.