I haven’t given a lot of thought to alien invasions or abductions, to be honest. Sure, I saw Independence Day. But the closest I’ve personally been to an alien abduction thought lucidly revealing itself to my perception was the time I had a dream where Ann Coulter was trying to kidnap me.
Here is I Am Abomination with their own abduction fantasy. Passion of the Heist, the band’s third EP, is a concept album of skyward proportions.
The Michigan-based progressive metal act takes a somewhat scattered approach to the music, but that doesn’t stop it from being a punishing, rocking ride. There are electronics tucked into the corners too, and that may put off some purists. Considering the concept though, the shards of steel scraping and vocal fuckery is played to the right angle.
The intro, “Vivification,” sets the atmosphere. A creepy, abstruse haze penetrates, and footsteps followed by screams send chills. What is happening here?
“Abduction” is the answer, as a giant inhalation of noise with a heavy industrial edge gives way to magnificent riffage. “I’m leaving this world I know behind,” sings vocalist Phil Druyor. Guitarist Nick Sampson, who also mastered, produced and wrote the record, is a man on fire with wailing, scaling notes perfect for good old-fashioned air guitar. The tempo and pace shifts make the track feel like a different song at times.
“Examination” is the next phase of the adventure, the part in my wicked dream when the gaunt one was leering at me with all the voluptuous allure of an impotent senior citizen. In I Am Abomination’s world, the examination is a push in the right direction. Electronic effects sparkle through behind the rage of guitars and punishing drums. More golden riffs touch down and the tempo is sharp. “This isn’t real,” Druyo tries to tell himself.
By now, the adventure is locked in and this “heist” is happening–like it or not. “Transformation” brings about more riffs and spiralling guitar, while “Ascension” takes the conversion a step further with harsh vocals from Attack Attack’s Caleb Shomo.
Passion of the Heist wraps with the inevitable: “Invasion.” While my Coulter-fied nightmare happily never made it to this point, it’s clear that the world of I Am Abomination is not as sunny. Deadly fucking riffs coat the intro, but the band sinks into murkier territory. A male chorus sings distantly, and, as the song comes to a close, a foreboding, distorted, mechanical voice tells us what we don’t want to know.
A concept album that works, Passion of the Heist is a clever and imaginative EP. I Am Abomination is an act that I can’t claim too much fluency in, but their musicianship is mammoth, their commitment to the Almighty Riff is remarkable and their ability to tell stories is undeniable.