Category Archives: Gone But Not Forgotten

Gone But Not Forgotten: Project Abner/The Abner

Let me tell you a tale of four very talented chaps who got dealt a bad hand. Dave, Olv, Apple and Wilson are the four members of Project Abner; an emo/pop punk/metalcore hybrid act who were functional from 2001 to 2004. The band toured and played lots of shows with bands like Days Ago, Zero Cipher, Eden Maine and Aconite Thrill. In 2002 to 2003 they wrote, recorded and released an EP called All My Love.

Now here’s where things get strange; the All My Love EP made it to press and some reviews also refer to it as the Follow the Pig EP. It would appear the EP was scheduled for a physical release in October 2003 but for whatever reason I haven’t been able to find anything as to the existence of physical CDs. This EP would have contained the songs As Kids Do, The Fable, Pour Fair L’Amour, Suited and Useless, Sighing Like Furnace and All My Love. Sighing Like Furnace and The Fable got released on a promotional CD-R that was given out at gigs.

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Here’s where things take a turn for the worst. Project Abner’s management got them into a position where they were being blacklisted by promoters and booking agents. It’s not clear what had happened but the band were furious with their manager and decided to dump him and their name in the process.

In 2004 Project Abner are reborn as The Abner. With renewed energy and focus the band record an EP called Chinoiserie Lounge for Basick Records and it’s sprung on the world in 2006. The EP is a wonderful mesh of Horse the Band and early Enter Shikari and the band christen their special blend of noise as partycore. Sighing Like Furnace is also revisited and given a fresh coat of paint and renamed The Penitent Man Will Pass. Copies of this EP are still available from Basick Records and every household should have one.

The band continue to trudge on but it becomes apparent that the band’s live appearances are becoming more infrequent and it isn’t until 2008 that new material surfaces. The Abner release a new single called D.I.S.C.O and it’s a frightfully catchy slice of up-beat punk-metal. I remember seeing the song live for the first time at a Basick Records showcase gig which included Without Thought and Fell Silent and it was an absolute joy to behold.

Work began on what would become The Abner’s debut album but interest in the band seemed to have completely faded. The Abner were appearing at incredibly under-promoted shows and one show at The Hope and Anchor only drew about 5 people (myself included). This sort of reception is heartbreaking when it happens to a band you care about and by 2009 The Abner decided it simply wasn’t worth the effort.

The band split without a farewell show but they gave their fans one final gift in the form of 5 album demos and the previously released D.I.S.C.O single. This final release is even more tragic in the fact that it shows a noticeable progression in the band’s song-writing. The songs are all wonderfully unique and progressive numbers like A Cowshed Riot Against the Glutton sit side-by-side with straight-forward rockers like Whiskey Punchout. The songs were initially shared by the band via mediafire but thankfully Basick Records have seen fit to give the songs another lease of life and re-released them as an iTunes EP called If You’re Listening To This… Where Were You In 2008?

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Did The Abner’s management kill the band’s chance at success? It’s difficult to say but in 2009 the UK lost one of the most original sounding rock acts to ever grace the toilet circuit. It’s not nice watching a band you love fall into obscurity and making heavy music in this day and age is a real labour of love. The Abner stuck with it for 8 years and they don’t deserve to be a footnote in UK rock’s history. Go and hunt down The Abner’s 2 EPs on iTunes and indulge in one of the weirdest rock bands ever birthed in the UK. You won’t regret it.

Andrew has kindly put together some additional information on the band which we present below:

“Our very last attempt at a show was in 2009 at the Water Rats where we turned up on a Thursday night to play and were told by the venue that they thought we would bring a crowd. We told them that they were sorely mistaken (haha), so they told us we wouldn’t be playing. We packed up our gear and that was that!

All My Love was a massive blow for us. We had been promised the earth by a con man and left out to dry with his dirty laundry. Basically we got an initial run of one hundred CDs and the printing was wrong on them. They never got a re-pressing because the label head hadn’t paid the bill. Almost cursed, you might say. One of the main reasons that Evolving Music (the label) collapsed is that they over stretched themselves time and time again. Properties in central London, full page adverts in Kerrang! and Rock Sound, t-shirts, stickers, you name it. All good stuff if the money is coming in. They booked a huge 30 date tour for the 3 bands potentially signing to Evolving (ourselves, Through Silence, and Shellshock) with 2 revolving headliners. Half the dates were scheduled for Skindred, and half for Mahumodo (with Mahumodo being the headliners for our shows, drawing a more suitable crowd for us). 3 days before the first show Mahumodo split up and the tour was a disaster as a result! Then we were lied to, etc etc. and the rest is history!

Basick Records saved us from the brink and we helped them by signing a free deal. They pressed our CDs and we bought them at cost. Any that Basick sold were their own. It worked for us and Nathan always had faith in us and our music. It was just a shame that the small piece of momentum we had left when we signed with them ran out before we managed to write a whole album.

Another note worth mentioning is that we toured with My Chemical Romance on their first 3 date UK tour (just before being blacklisted) and also with Skindred around the time that our label collapsed.

We got to the point where we had more fun being ourselves and we never ever fit into a pigeon hole from a visual perspective. We just enjoyed rocking out (and slagging off the crowd between songs).

I’d have loved it if we could have carried on but sometimes life just gets in the way. It’s really nice to know that there’s a little legacy out there though!”

PROJECT ABNER/THE ABNER WERE
– Dave Shanley (vocals)
– Andrew Wilson (bass)
– Apple (guitar)
– Olv (drums)

DISCOGRAPHY

As Project Abner
2 Track Promo CD-R (2003)
Subverse Volume 1 Compilation (2003)
All My Love/Follow the Pig EP (2003)

As The Abner
2 Track Demo CD-R (2004)
Chinoiserie Lounge EP (2006)
A Day for Light Refreshment Promo DVD (2007)
D.I.S.C.O Single (2008)
If You’re Listening To This… Where Were You In 2008? EP (2009)

Do you have memories of Project Abner/The Abner? Let us know in the comments below or drop us an email at ukscumscene[at]live.co.uk.


News: Kerouac are Splitting Up

Could great UK bands stop breaking up now please!? This blog is turning into a gravesite!

Hardcore darlings Kerouac have announced that after 3 years together they will be splitting up because “life caught up with us”.

The band has announced a fairwell show at The Old Blue Last in London on the 7th of July and entry is free. More details on the rest of the line-up are to be revealed but the band have said that it “will be made up of best friends”.

Also announced is a discography 12″ to be released in the Summer by Tangled Talk and Holy Roar Records. No firm date has been set but the band are working on the artwork “right now”.

Kerouac’s split us another huge blow to UK hardcore. The band were something really special and successfully mixed heart-on-sleeve brutality with progressive elements. Their debut release Cold and Distant, Not Living is one of my favourite hardcore releases and I urge anyone who hasn’t heard it yet to hunt a copy down.

The band also released songs on 2 seperate splits; 1 with The Long Haul and another with Pariso. RIP Kerouac; you will be sorely missed.


Vacant Stare’s ‘Vindication’ is 10 Years Old

Vacant Stare were the hot topic back in the early 2000s. You couldn’t be exposed to UK rock music and not know who they were. They seemed to be on every bill on every major rock show up and down the country and the release of their one and only album ‘Vindication’ was a landmark release for any fan of heavy music.

Released through Copro Records back when it wasn’t completely inactive, Vindication was (and still is) one of the best nu-metal albums to ever see the light of day. Consistent, heavy, anthemic with plenty of electronic flair; it was the sound of a generation.

Then it all went a bit pear-shaped. Talks of major label interest seemed like things were on the up for the Vacant Stare boys and then suddenly they were no more. Their story echoes label-mates earthtone9 (exept for the reforming part) and was enormously gutting for anyone who had stuck with them.

Vindication is now 10 years old and I actually can’t believe it. This was a seminal record for me and one that introduced me to rock and metal. Raise a glass for Vindication and never forget your heroes; music is forever!


Gone But Not Forgotten: Send More Paramedics

Members
B’Hellmouth – Vocals
Medico – Guitar
X Undead – Bass
El Diablo – Drums

Releases
Demo – 2001
A Feast For The Fallen – 2002
The Hallowed And The Heathen – 2003
Tales Told By Dead Men: Split with Zombie Apocalypse – 2005
South of Heaven, North of England: Split with The Nothing – 2005
The Awakening – 2006
Self Titled Cassette – 2007

Sounds Like
A mix of thrash metal and hardcore punk with zombie b-movie overtones; think Black Flag meets Slayer.

Send More Paramedics were a self-proclaimed ‘zombiecore’ band from Leeds. The band formed in 2001 to record a demo which caught the attention of In At The Deep End Records who would then work with the band to release all of their discography apart from a split CD with The Nothing which would go out on Thirty Days of Night Records.

The band stood apart thanks to their liberal use of zombie b-movie aesthetics which went as far as the band dressing up as the undead for shows, interviews and music videos. This persona was also the foundation for their music and lyrics which are all about the zombie masses bringing the Earth to its’ knees. There simply wasn’t another band like Send More Paramedics and any proclaimers to the zombiecore throne (such as Zombie Apocalypse who participated in a split with the band) just sound like dodgy imitations with half the passion of SMP.

The band’s biggest ‘hit’ (if you can even call it that) was Zombie Crew from their 2nd album The Hallowed and the Heathen. The tune is a mosh-pit anthem with a massive, gang-vocal-driven chorus. It also has one of the best performance-based music videos I’ve ever seen thanks to the brilliant performances from their audience who all put on very convincing zombie impressions.

Some of the other big achievements for the band contain a tour with The Offspring, winning BBC Radio One’s ‘Fresh Meat’ competition which resulted in a live performance on BBC Three and some rather cool guest appearances from Jeff Walker and Ken Owen of Carcass on their last album The Awakening.

Sadly the band split in 2007 leaving a heart-felt message on their MySpace stating that their “zombie corpses are finally rotting to the point at which we can continue no more.” B’Hellmouth would later appear as Professor Oblivion in the sci-fi orientated thrashcore outfit Cyvoid who dropped a single EP before calling it quits earlier this year. There are quite a lot of similarities between Cyvoid and Send More Paramedics but with a little more technical proficiency in their music.

Regardless, Send More Paramedics were a truly bonkers band of undead loonies who made brilliantly catchy thrash-punk for people who like crappy, zombie-horror films. The addition of B-Hellmouth’s lairy, punk-rock vocals made the whole thing a serious amount of fun and gave them a sound that was truly their own. The band’s devotion to their characters was also a commendable effort that always adds something to bands that are as visual as SMP.

You can still get all the band’s releases on In At The Deep End Records from the website’s online store. The band’s first demo and split with The Nothing are now rarities and very difficult to get a hold of so be prepared to dish out some serious dough if they ever appear on eBay.