Abney Park is a steampunk band based in Seattle that mixes elements of industrial dance, world music, and steampunk-influenced lyrics in their work. Their name comes from Abney Park Cemetery in London (UK). Formerly a goth band, Abney Park has transformed their look and sound and has been called the "quintessential" spokespeople of steampunk culture.
Abney Park was formed by Robert Brown in 1997. They released their first full-length album Abney Park in 1998, and in 1999 they released Return to the Fire. Their third album "Cemetery Number 1" drew from their first two albums as well as introducing several new songs. In the early years of Abney Park, the band featured a gothic musical and visual style, which culminated with their 2002 release From Dreams Or Angels. Their songs "The Change Cage", "Black Day" and "No Life" reached number one on the Industrial, Darkwave and Black Metal music charts, respectively.
In 2005, the band released Taxidermy, which is a collection of new versions of songs from past albums, three live tracks and two covers. In 2006, the release of the album The Death of Tragedy marked the beginning of a major change for the band, as their music departed from a goth/pagan sound to a more world music/fusion one. After this release, their line-up changed as well, with the departure of Traci Nemeth, Krysztof Nemeth and Robert Hazelton, replaced by Magdalene Veen (Eliza Gauger using a pseudonym), Jean-Paul Mayden and Nathaniel Johnstone. Shortly thereafter, Jean-Paul departed the band to be replaced by Daniel Cederman.
In early 2005, Abney Park transformed themselves from a largely goth industrial band into a steampunk band. As part of that transformation, Abney Park invented fictional identities of themselves. Since steampunk is largely derived from science fiction and fantasy literature, the band also created a fictional backstory to explain the shake-up in membership and who they were now, and to set a stage for their new music. According to that story, the band's plane collided with a time-travelling dirigible called the Ophelia—said to have been created by a Dr. Leguminous Calgori (presumably a reference to the 1920 silent film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari)—in a freak storm. The band commandeered the vessel, deciding to become airship pirates, and formed a new band from the surviving members of the crash. Much of their music since that time has been based around this fictional backstory.
In the spring of 2008, Magdalene Veen left the band and was replaced by Finn Von Claret. That year, they released Lost Horizons, their first steampunk-themed album. Finn retired in the summer of 2009 to form Imaginary Daughter. Jody Ellen joined the band later that year and played her first show at Dragon*Con 2009. Also in 2009, the band released Æther Shanties, their tenth album. Nathaniel Johnstone hinted in March 2010 that they were working on songs for their next album, though no names were forthcoming. A recording of a live performance of one of them (later confirmed to be the title track, "The End Of Days") can be found here. The End Of Days, their seventh studio album, was released on October 15, 2010. In late 2011, Nathaniel Johnstone left the band, to be replaced by Titus Munteanu. On April 11, 2014, Jody Ellen said on her Facebook page that she left the band to carry on her solo career. On June 20, 2014, Daniel Cederman made a statement on his Facebook page that he was leaving the band for a position as Dean of Military Science at Hofstra University in New York City, in order to pursue a PhD and spend more time with his daughter.
Now sometimes called the "quintessential" steampunk band, Abney Park has been featured in major news media and interviewed by several genre magazines and websites, and has been highlighted on MTV and G4TV as primary examples of the steampunk musical scene.
Abney Park has performed at numerous festivals, including World Steam Expo, Dragon*Con, WGW, Utah Dark Arts, Bats Day, Convergence, Ravenwood Festival, Masque and Veil, Queen Mary Pyrate Daze, the Bay Area Maker Faire, Steamcon and Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention They have also been seen twice at the Grand Canadian Steampunk Exposition in Ontario Canada. Their music has also been featured in many compilation CDs, including Gilded Age Records' An Age Remembered: A Steampunk and Neo-Victorian Mix, Cleopatra Records' The Unquiet Grave vol. III, Sepiachord's A Sepiachord Companion, BLC Productions' Annihilation and Seduction, Squish Me Down Records' Eighteen (Eighteen NW Bands Benefit CD)
Their music has also appeared in several movie soundtracks, including Insomnis Amour, Goth, and Lord of the Vampires. The Abney Park song "Sleep Isabella" was used in a scene in the HBO series True Blood, Season 5 Episode 4.
Albums:From Dreams Or Angels (2002)
Twisted & Broken: Abney Park Remixed (This album is available from the band as part of a special package)
The Death of Tragedy (2005)
Compilations:Building Steam (2014) Live DVD
The Music Videos + Live From Russia (2015) Live BD/DVD
Anachronomicon (2016) 5CD collection divided by theme
Other songs:Cellophane Wings (It was written even before the earlier days. Furthermore, it wasn't recorded or performed live but these lyrics are part of the Airship Pirates RPG among the other songs)
Custom Song "Sleep Isabella" (singer Robert Brown offered to rewrite and rerecord the lyrics of this song for a custom version)
In August 2011 Cakebread & Walton, using Cubicle 7 Entertainment as their publisher, released a role playing game based on the world of Abney Park's backstory. Set in the post-apocalyptic world after their album, The End Of Days – a future world with a severely disrupted timeline – Airship Pirates features steampunk themes and Victorian-era style. Airship Pirates places players as air pirates in command of their own steam-powered airships. There they will seek not only to pillage the skies, but to plunder history, possibly causing even greater disruption to the past. Meanwhile, the world below struggles in Victorian-style squalor under an oppressive government that maintains control through clockwork policemen. In December 2011, the RPG game won Diehard GameFAN's "Best Core Rulebook of 2011" award.
In 2012, a novel was released entitled The Wrath of Fate: Book 1 of The Airship Pirate Chronicles, by Robert Brown. Set in a post-apocalyptic steampunk future, the book is a companion to Abney Park's music and RPG game, exploring Abney Park's backstory and fictional setting in greater detail. A second novel in the series, Retrograde, came out in 2013, followed by a third novel, "The Toyshop At The End Of The World", in 2015.