The Human Abstract – Digital Veil


Album

Digital Veil

Label

E1 Music

Year

2011

For Fans Of

Between the Buried and Me - The End - Protest the Hero

Summary

A tech lovers sonic paradise

Rating

82 / 100

A simple game of word association in reference to LA metallers The Human Abstract uncovers the same general adjectives. Commonly that of: technical, progressive, intelligent. The band’s reputation, due largely to their perceived and justified sense of musicality means The Human Abstract maintain a favourable standing in the metal community. The interesting thing however, is their studio albums, as a whole, have been quite underwhelming and inconsistent previously (well, maybe just ‘Midheaven‘. ‘Nocturne‘ was quite good.)

Yes, the acclaim given is deserved but ultimately some impressive guitar sweeps and the odd polyrhythm performed in patches is not going to fool everyone forever. Eventually questions are going to be asked about why the skilled playing does not translate into effective music. In the past, two things emerged. One, the attempt to be Between the Buried and Me volume 2. Unfortunately going head-to-head with a band of this ilk is going to breed inferiority. There’s no shame in that. Like trying to outrun Usain Bolt in a foot race, the differences might be profound but it’s no cause for concern. Secondly, the vocals have always been a sour point with fans.

Well fast track to 2011, and like anyone trying to continually improve, it appears The Human Abstract have identified these key areas, working at pains to rectify and subsequently improve them. The band have ditched the three guitar trio, preferring for the common two member tag-team, welcomed back original guitarist A.J Minette and most notably, added new singer, and former From First to Last frontman Travis Richter to the fold.

Third studio album, ‘Digital Veil‘ certainly fits into the ‘highly anticipated’ release category of 2011. And thankfully an initial impression as well as a longer, more considered listen draws the same conclusions…the sound is heavier and yes, the tunes are much, much better. Refined, solid, precise.

There is still some showboating in the sound and some unnecessary filler bits that give the impression that the band just what to unload all the technical material they have been practising in their homes for the past three years. But we can live with that.

Title track ‘Digital Veil‘ is the first truly heavy point, while ‘Faust‘ is impressive. It’s that simple! The track mixes an assertive tech tone with harmonising, both in vocals and guitars that feed off each other well. Not to mention a decent little breakdown thrown in for good measure. Contrastively, ‘Antebellum‘ is a seven-and-a-half minute track, with a real classical feel. A ‘thinking man’s’ take on metal if you will.

Eight tracks certainly keeps this album very concise and grounded. If Beethoven tried his hand at metal composition it would probably sound something like this.

Conclusion

Third times a charm for this LA quintet. All the elements are finally balanced. ‘Digital Veil’ clearly shows the hard-work of a band keen to establish a genuine reputation for themselves. Very good.

Tracklisting

1. Elegiac

2. Complex Terms

3. Digital Veil

4. Faust
5. Antebellum
6. Holographic Sight

7. Horizon to Zenith
8. Patterns

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