Review Summary: The band return with their sophomore album and a sound that is more their own.
It’s not often, but occasionally a band can get away with totally emulating their influences. In order to get away with it they generally have to be a new band and they have to do the source material justice. Abigail’s Ghost met those requirements on their debut album, Selling Insincerity
, by making their Porcupine Tree
influence the focal point of their sound and pulling it off nicely. Of course, if they had tried the same thing on their sophomore album they’d be dismissed as a band with a lot of talent but no artistic vision of their own. It turns out that this is a band with talent and a bit of artistic vision too.
The band’s Porcupine Tree influence hasn’t been entirely dismissed, but it’s not simply a blatant use of tones, riffs and ideas anymore. On D_letion
they’ve found their own sound by stepping up the energy levels and metal-influence of the heavier songs and emphasizing a strong morose atmosphere that’s carried by clean guitars and subtle keyboards on the mellow tracks. It’s a formula that works really well and helps give the band their own identity. The Porcupine Tree influence that remains is mostly found in the vocals of Bones Theriot, but it doesn’t sound like it’s intentional anymore – it just seems like that’s the most suitable tone for his voice. His voice carries the same mid-range soft tones but is just slightly higher-pitched than Steven Wilson’s. At any rate, it works for the moody style of prog that the band produces. Oddly enough, the band dropped the one element of their previous album that actually set them apart – the industrial influence. Given that they’ve found their own sound without that influence it’s not a big deal, but it would have been nice if they had kept it.
For the most part D_letion
is front-loaded with all of the heavier songs such as the title track and “Plastik Soul”, and winds down with the quieter numbers. The title track is easily the heaviest song in the band’s repertoire, progressing through many different riffs and sounds but also manages to maintain a strong hook and memorable vocal melody. “Cinder Tin” marks the beginning of the band’s shift into moodier, darker songs with its clean guitar melodies, spacey synths and rhythmic percussion. Although it’s really going to come down to individual tastes, the band seems to do better with the darker songs and since they make up the majority of the album, that’s not a bad thing. It should be stressed that the darker songs aren’t simply a collection of metal ballads; they’re still prone to distorted outbursts and a bit of energy (mostly in the quality percussion). The difference is that the mellower songs are built to provide a vibe or mood where each part contributes to that mood, whereas the heavier songs are simply built to provide something to rock to.
Abigail’s Ghost’s debut album displayed a band with a lot of potential if only they made the effort to step into their own and this album shows that the effort was made. Granted, there are still moments where a certain sound or piece of a riff will instantly remind of a Porcupine Tree song but those moments are much fewer. Instead, a majority of the album is made up of excellent heavier sections and even better atmospheric songs. In case all of the Porcupine Tree references weren’t enough - this album is definitely something fans of that band could enjoy and unlike the debut it won’t simply frustrate them with all of the blatant copying. For those not into PT, there could still very well be something here worth looking into because the band don’t delve into the lyrical concepts that seem to frustrate some about PT and they’re also not prone to psychedelic meandering. While the band should definitely continue to carve out their own niche, for now this is an excellent release with plenty of great songs.