Home Read Albums Of The Week: Abrams | Blue City

Albums Of The Week: Abrams | Blue City

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Fusing melody and dissonance, Abrams blast forth a cathartic mix of catchy, driving rhythms, soaring vocals and ethereal ambiance. Wielding elements of heavy rock, shoegaze, grunge and post-metal with ease and fluency, they create a crystalline heaviness that’s bittersweet and nostalgic yet also gazes forward. The Denver band’s arresting sound finds them sharing terrain with the likes of Torche and Cave-In, while their penchant for crunchy, irresistibly hooky riffs recalls alt-rock icons Hum and Quicksand. Even so, their swirling meld of influences isn’t the totality of Abrams.

Abrams started in 2013 in Denver, with singer-guitarist Zach Amster and singer-bassist Taylor Iversen at the helm. Later joined by drummer Ryan DeWitt, the thunderous trio has always made a point of honor at crafting compelling melodies driven by blistering energy. From the full-blown progressive sludge and post-hardcore aggression of their debut album Lust. Love. Loss. (2015) and followup Morning (2017), the band has honed their craft and revealed their magnetism with 2020’s Modern Ways, yet it is the moody and mountain-heavy rock venture of their fourth full-length In The Dark (2022) that saw the now foursome taking their music journey to the next level.

Produced by Dave Otero (Khemmis, Cattle Decapitation), In The Dark showcased an expansive collection of AmRep-worthy post-grunge tunes that trigger a wide range of emotions through luscious guitar hooks, brooding leads and outstanding vocals. The album landed in numerous end-of-year lists and was unanimously acclaimed by international critics.

Having shared the stage with Unsane, KEN mode, King Buffalo, Khemmis, Jaye Jayle and Emma Ruth Rundle, Abrams have always strived to deliver memorable live shows. Recorded and produced by Kurt Ballou (Converge, High On Fire) at his legendary GodCity Studio, Blue City is where genre-defying heaviness and perfect melodic songcraft converge, a sojourn through lush, cinematic passages and contemplative psychedelia.

Its lyrics describe a metaphorical prison, a cold but familiar place where fear of change and the impossibility of action lead to paradoxical, crushing comfort. Amster comments: “The songs on Blue City deal with the feeling of being trapped in a place of comfort and normality. Where we may really want to pack up and try anything new; but the scare of change is holding us back for what is known as routine. The blue city is a metaphor, for this is a cold but familiar place that keeps us imprisoned from any drastically new experience. A comfort in the familiar, a fear of the unknown.”