Search Results for "Abolitionist"

Album Review: Abolitionist – “Ugly Feeling”

It’s no secret that Portland’s Abolitionist has decided to call it quits, bringing to an end a lifetime that’s spanned eight years and (if their bandcamp is to be believed) eight releases. This was a band, that for me, seemed omnipresent in Portland’s punk rock scene. A dark sounding amalgam of hardcore and everything else, directed more by its political vision than any concrete sonic leaning. Sometimes this worked for me, sometimes it didn’t—but Abolitionist were always a band that’d pique my interest. Where others were writing party songs to sing along drunk to, Abolitionist were always pushing their ambition. This is the band that seemed to be churning out concept albums at a point—always writing, always working, always with something to say. Ugly Feeling is their swan song and on it they take their sound further than they ever have before, combining a love for Fugazi with their political perspective, going out with a bang.

Ugly Feeling is like and unlike previous releases in equal measures. It features the same declarative vocal delivery, the same focus on heavy riffs, but they’ve corrected some of my biggest problems with their last release (A New Militance) by taking their new influences a step further. Here, the riffs and leads are given more time to breathe, which in turn emphasizes them more. Songs like “Crossroads” sound that much more sonically precise, the intensity feeling like a product of design rather than suffocation.

There’s still a range of sounds on the album though. Title track “Ugly Feeling” is a hardcore banger whose titular refrain could surely raise fists in a tightly-packed room. Whereas “The Selfish Gene” indulges in a dark and heavy riff, complimenting the album’s bitter commentary. And make no mistake, this is a dark album, and as it moves forward, it only gets darker—and the music reflects this as much as the lyrics.

Much of the album, at least to my understanding, seems to take aim at our culture and the privilege it awards to straight white males. This is an angry album. It’s disgusted with our worship of money, our own self-satisfied nature. There’s a grotesque scene in mid-album banger “Willie B. Bacon” that resonated even with a carnist like myself:

“When he was a boy, there was a pig his parents raised… but not as a pet. He used to go to the pen to visit his doomed friend. He remembers the pungent smell. He remembers the friendly noise. He remembers the coarse, fibrous hair. He remembers a feeling of loss.”

Ugly Feeling, like much of Abolitionists’ work is a concept album and as such follows a single character. Perhaps it’s fitting in “Walls,” the band’s final song (at least for awhile) that the protagonist accepts his own ignorance, admitting “he did not have a clue,” and finally, making the call to “change his ways.” It may be a little clunky, and it may be on the nose, but Abolitionist has always been about the message. Here it is, distilled down to its most basic form, a message of hope that doesn’t skimp on responsibility, an end to an ugly feeling.

This is undoubtedly Abolitionists’ best work to date, and while it’s always sad to see such stalwarts fall by the wayside, it’s nice to see them going out at their peak. Ugly Feeling is punk rock through and through, thick with commentary and heavy with riffs. Fans of the band will be pleased to see Abolitionist didn’t waste their goodbye.

 



New Album/Stream: Check out Abolitionist’s “Ugly Feeling” For Free/Pay What You Want

Abolitionist, the hardcore-ish, post-ish, pop-punk-ish outfit from the city of Portland, OR, have released their new album Ugly Feeling on Bandcamp for free/pay what you want. These Northwesterners have been swinging for the fences this year, as this new album follows up their previous 2019 release A New Militance (see review here).

We have a stream below, but click here if you wanna go straight to Bandcamp and grab it for yourself. Word on the street, after a couple tour runs, Abolitionist will be going on an indefinite hiatus, so keep your eyes peeled for tour dates near your hometown.



Short/Fast/Loud: Abolitionist – “A New Militance”

Here at Dying Scene, we’ve been talking a lot behind the scenes about how to maximize our content—not only covering more, but covering better. We’ll be making some changes to our output in the coming months, and the end goal will be to provide our writers with more opportunities to write in-depth reviews, editorials, and interviews. Part of this is adapting our review format—there is simply too much out there to cover and full-length reviews just aren’t time effective. That doesn’t mean we’re getting rid of longform reviews (we’d rather die), only that when we do them, we’ll be investing more in them and treating them as we would a feature. For the rest, we want to cover the multitude of bands that are working hard out there but might get squashed under the great wheel of the album submissions game. Short-form reviews—as short and loud as punk itself—will be a way for us to cover more while still providing honest, dependable feedback. Let us know what you think of the new format, we plan to roll out capsule reviews as they accumulate from here on out.

Political punks Abolitionist are back with A New Militance, an eight song album that is neither LP or EP, but inhabiting a weird Twilight Zone all its own. Personally, I prefer this in-between format—it’s a reflection of punk itself, refusing arbitrary rules and following the muse. A New Militance continues Abolitionists’ post-hardcore-ish punk rock with a little more emphasis on the post- this time around. This results in meatier leads throughout, such as that on the metallic and stomping “RED.” The changes are welcome additions, but personally, I think A New Militance would be an even stronger album taking their influences further. This is a band of chugging claustrophobia, but with the taste of something new, it makes one wonder what they could do with sparser, airier, more subtle instrumentation.

But, that being said, A New Militance is a good listen. In the long tradition of Abolitionist concept albums, this one focuses on a worldwide feminist uprising. Mid-album banger “ACTUALLY” begins with the line (an ode to mansplaining), “Actually… just shut the fuck up.” Righteous, cathartic, and maybe just a little funny—Abolitionist are still as scrappy, interesting, and devoutly political as ever.

Check out: “PINK,” “ACTUALLY,” “NOPE”



Album Review: Abolitionist – “The Instant”

It took longer for me to get Abolitionist than I like to admit. I remember eyeing the Portland area as a potential home, years before I was even close to taking the plunge. In preparation, I listened to every Portland punk band I could find. A part of me wanted to be convinced, and of course, a part of me wanted new music. I found a lot of cool bands, but something about Abolitionist just didn’t stick to me. Back in those days, they had a pop punk tag on bandcamp and I can’t help but think of myself, back then, straining to hear how Abolitionist would’ve sat alongside Teenage Bottlerocket, Off With Their Heads, or Direct Hit! It wasn’t really that melodic, but it was aggressive, had cool art, and was supposed to sell me on a city I kinda-sorta was seeing myself in down the road. But back then—I just didn’t get it.

Well, flash forward. I live in Vancouver, WA, a bridge away from Abolitionists’ hometown and I’m armed with a lot more knowledge and taste. Since then, I’ve recognized that pop punk tag as an influence, not an iron-barred cage, and I’ve expanded my listening experiences enough to place them in a different, and altogether more punk tradition. It took their last EP to open my eyes, and when I finally saw them for what they are (rather than what the bandcamp tag sold them as), I saw Abolitionist as the torchbearers of the Revolution Summer—that glorious and exciting period of punk rock when DC hardcore started to stretch its legs and experiment with both confessional lyrics, slowed down jams, and melody—outrightly rejecting macho posturing and violence. When I hear Abolitionist now, I hear Dag Nasty, One Last Wish, Rites of Spring, and Fuel, but their innovation is in taking the rawness and musical melody of the aforementioned while laser-focusing their lyrics through a political and narrative lens.

The Instant follows in this vein, and of course, it’s a concept album tightly woven around it’s theme—one day, the people of the world wake up, and they suddenly give a shit. The concept itself is simultaneously cynical, hopeful, and absurd, but Abolitionist explore it thoroughly, with twists and turns galore. Better still though, even as committed as it is to its storytelling, the album never becomes bloated. The songs are short and declarative and the whole album clocks in at a breezy twenty-three minutes.

The reason the Revolution Summer comparison rings so loud for me is in the fundamentals of Abolitionists’ approach to music. “A Little Animal Liberation Never Hurt Anybody” is a good example of their sonic palette. A soaring, hopeful guitar melody leads into a power chord progression marked with lyrics like, “Burned down the factories, freed the slaves. Changed our diet, changed our ways.” Abolitionist sounds like a band using the hardcore framework, but adapting it to their taste. Their vocals are barked, sometimes with a sense of muted melody, but look no further than the bands that formed the basis for post-hardcore to see another group stretching under the confines of punk’s most restrictive style. Another comparison, especially in regards to “A Little Animal Liberation…” is Paint It Black, whose song “Invisible” similarly uses a big major guitar melody to create a sense of triumph in a dark world, a merging of music and lyrics never explored in straight hardcore beyond the default of aggression.

But, as this is a narrative album, there are highs and lows. “Backlash” is a gang-vocaled stomper, and probably the closest to a straightforward hardcore punk song on the album, as well as the shortest song on the album. The final track, “The Lonesome Death,” feels complacent in comparison—a jaunty, but broken record of the album’s final downbeat note, mimicking the lyrical bent with subtle precision. “We live in a veritable utopia!” is The Instant’s last line and it is both a claim, a question, and a critique.  

The Instant is an incredibly concise album. In fact, I would consider it a unique counterpoint to longer concept albums like David Comes to Life and The Monitor, which is not to say that those albums are any worse, but that they adapted punk rock to the world of the rock opera, where Abolitionist has adapted the rock opera to punk rock—cutting down it’s run time, zeroing in on it’s focus, and fitting it to the meter of loud and fast. The DC influence on the album allows the band to play with melody without succumbing to it entirely—and in confluence with its run-time makes for an experience that is as urgent and engaging as its message.

 

4/5



Abolitionist streaming new album “The Instant”

Portland punks Abolitionist are streaming their new album “The Instant.”

“The Instant” is Abolitionist’s fourth LP. You can check out the stream below and pick up the album at bandcamp for name-your-price.



Abolitionist stream new song “Trouble” off upcoming album “The Instant”

Oregon punk band Abolitionist have released another track from their upcoming album, The Instant. The track is called “Trouble” and is just as political and dark as you would think it is. The 97 second ripper packs a lot of themes in to one, tied together by modern struggles. If anything is a good indicator of the rest of the album, this is it.

You can check the song out here.

Abolitionist’s last release was “The Pinnacle” EP in 2017.



Abolitionist premieres song “The Instant”

Abolitionist has just premiered the title track off their upcoming record titled “The Instant”. The record is due out May 1st with pre-orders opening up next month. You can give the track a listen here.

Abolitionist’s last release was “The Pinnacle” EP in 2017.

 



EP Review: Abolitionist – ‘The Pinnacle’

Abolitionist always skirted classification for me. Their sound is an amalgam of post-hardcore and just plain old punk rock, but it doesn’t really name check the former in the usual ways. It’s melodic, but not too melodic; there are tunes, but they’re shouty and muted in the way that the emocore coming out of DC was during the Revolution Summer. It wouldn’t be too insane to say they got a sort of garage rock Rites of Spring vibe. Listen to End on End? You hear it? It’s kinda there, right? But, Abolitionist isn’t emo, nor can they really take the -core suffix. When I group them with others in my mind, I’m not putting them with Title Fight, Dowsing, or any other emo revival group; you see, Abolitionist– above and beyond their sound– are a political punk band. I have them firmly in the realm of Propagandhi and the Rebel Spell. Where Propagandhi uses riffs and thrash inspired shred to direct their political and social rage, Abolitionist uses crunchy power chord progressions and bare-bones guitar melodies– different tools, same toolbox.

The Pinnacle is the latest EP from the Portland quartet, four songs that carry the common theme of struggling with the modern world, sometimes tearing down a falsely comforting construct (the ‘tree farms’ in “That’s No Forest, Stupid”) or even a call to arms against our own selves (“Not Alone”). The songs comes together as short blasts of cagey punk energy, paranoid and isolated, simultaneously resigned and focused. Even during the hopefulness on “Not Alone,” where vocalist Dustin Herron calls for us to become aware and supportive of the social contract, there’s frustration coiled between the lines.

It’s this frustration that bleeds into Abolitionist’s sound, which has the same grey and rain as the city they come from. “We Are the Pinnacle” might be one of the catchier songs on The Pinnacle, opening the album with sharp declaratives and a sense of guitar melody that wouldn’t be out of place on an early Hot Water Music album. “Surrounded By Everyone” is almost hypnotic in its repeating riff, represented both by chords and single notes, alluding to and maximizing the paranoia of the lyricism. It’s all simple stuff, minor key and muted, with shout-sung melodies laid over top– but it’s the right decision for the near-apocalyptic resolve in their lyrics.

The Pinnacle is a strong EP with a sound that doesn’t fit neatly anywhere, except within the broad scope of punk rock. Songs like “That’s No Forest, Stupid” cover ideas that aren’t typical topics in the political punk oeuvre, while the EP-ender “Not Alone” pushes against convention and offers not only umbrage, but solutions. The Pinnacle might not be for everyone, and even I could admit that with double the songs, it would run the risk of bleeding together into a droney mess. But, the EP that was delivered is the perfect length, with four short songs coupled with concise messages and a punchy sound. And in punk rock, no matter the subgenre, that’s about all you need.

4/5 Stars



Abolitionist streaming new EP “The Pinnacle”

Great new music from the Pacific Northwest’ own Abolitionist (punk). The band has released “The Pinnacle” which serves as a fast paced follow up to the bands 2015 LP “The Vicious Rumor”.

You can check out the new tracks here.

The band has also announced some tour dates which you can find below.



Abolitionist offer new album ‘The Vicious Rumor’ as “name your price” download

Oregon punkers Abolitionist have released a stream of their brand new album, The Vicious Rumor. You can check it out below, and if you like what you hear, the album is available for as a name your price download right here.

Abolitionist released The Vicious Rumor today, January 8, 2015. It is the follow up to their 2014 self-titled EP.



Abolitionist stream self-titled EP

Oregon punkers Abolitionist are currently streaming their latest self-titled EP. You can check it out below: if you like what you hear, the EP is available for a free/pay what you want download.

Abolitionist last released “The Growing Disconnect” in 2013.



Abolitionist stream upcoming split 7-inch w/ Rubrics, offer free download of their side

Oregon’s Abolitionist and South Carolina’s Rubrics have both put up streams of their respective halves of their upcoming split. You can listen to the tracks from both bands below.

If you like the Abolitionist half, you can head over to the band’s bandcamp page to pay whatever price you’d like for the tracks. There’s also the option to pre-order the vinyl for $4.

The Abolitionist / Rubrics split will be physically released in February.



1859 Records releases “Give Back – Volume Two” benefit comp (Abolitionist, Ramshackle Glory & more)

Portland’s 1859 Records has released the second volume in the “Give Back” benefit comp series, featuring 20 songs from Abolitionist, Ramshackle Glory, Commodity Culture, and many other bands.

You can download the comp for the price of your choice right here. All proceeds from sales will go directly to the Lighthouse Farm Animal Sanctuary in Scio, Oregon.



Abolitionist (punk rock) offer free download of new album “The Growing Disconnect”

Oregon punkers Abolitionist are offering their new album “The Growing Disconnect” up for free download.

You can snag it here. If you want, you also have the option to make a donation for the download, or pick up a copy of the album on CD for the low price of five dollars right here.

Abolitionist self-released “The Growing Disconnect” today (March 13th).

 



Elway, Nate Allen and more on “Positive Jams” benefit compilation

An 18 track benefit compilation titled “Positive Jams” is being released to aid Abra Hall who is fighting cancer. The album includes live tracks from Elway, Destroy Nate Allen, Pageripper, Absent Minds, Abolitionist and more.

The album is set to be released on Bandcamp for $5 or a donation of your choice and includes Elway track, “The Salt and the Sea.” Featured is a rare live Destroy Nate Allen recording with a horn and keys in the background, which they toured with for only a very short while after their latest album “With Our Powers Combine.”

Also included are Southtowne Lanes, Matt Danger, Hides and Don Peyote.

Find out more about Abra’s fight with cancer here.