The Dead End
The Dead End is actually quite a tricky album to pigeon hole.
On the face of it, it’s tempting to classify Abandon as a sludge metal band, and it’s certainly not unfair to compare them to bands like Crowbar, Electric Wizard or even Neurosis, but there’s a lot more going on here. The band list 16 Horsepower as one of their influences, and certainly I don’t think it would sound inappropriate to have David Eugene Edwards’ vocals on a number of the tracks here, especially the less heavy ones.
Of course, many of the tracks are, in fact, VERY heavy, reminiscent of Switchblade or Khanate, but the addition of a pump organ adds a body to the sound that’s pretty unique, and helps the band maintain melody through even their heaviest moments. The tracks are often structured in a way not dissimilar to Explosions in the Sky or Mogwai, starting relatively calmly then swelling to huge, crashing crescendos.
The album is dedicated to the memory of the band’s vocalist, Johnan Carlzon, and it appears that the band actually finished the album after his untimely death. A few of the tracks are instrumental - and indeed work very well as such - though it would have been interesting to hear what they may have sounded like with the addition of guttural, tortured vocals.
On the whole then, a triumph - although for me, at over a hundred minutes long and spanning two discs, possibly just a little bit too long.