The Human Abstract // Digital Veil
Rating: 4.5/5.0 — Excellent, experimental and worthy of your time
Label: E1 Music
Websites: Myspace | Full Album Stream
Release Dates: US: 03.08.2011 | EU: Unknown

The Human Abstract - Digital VeilOne of the things that I consistently tell people when they give me shit (which they inevitably do) about my taste in music is that you should call a spade a spade and like what you like without apologies. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have biases, however, and one of those biases that I have is against things that can be labelled as “metalcore” or “deathcore.” Since the early aughts we’ve been plagued by shitty record after shitty record from post-hardcore entities that have been passed off on us as the next big thing and that have ultimately felt sad and tired and not good. I recently ripped into Architects, for example, for being billed as ‘reinventing metalcore and themselves,’ only to produce an epic fail of a record.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I followed a link to listen to a live stream of the new The Human Abstract record whom I’d only, admittedly, ever heard of in the fog of the “metalcore” title. However, I thought that the description which was something like “a blending of metal with neo-classical elements,” sounded reasonably interested. And then it began; the record starts out with a beautiful acoustic piece which really sets the stage for the record which follows. Reminiscent of a piece by Vivaldi, “Elegiac” is a soft start to what is ultimately a combination of chuggy, progressive post-hardcore metal with a shitton of neoclassical guitar solos which rival the likes of Yngwe or Luca Turilli.

Fortunately, however, it is not just chuggy post-hardcore riffing. The band added a new vocalist by the name of Travis Richter who carries the screaming responsibilities as could be expected, but has a voice remarkably brit-pop in its tone and delivery. Adding this sort of Muse feeling, which actually shows up in the lighter parts, see the intro to “Horizon to Zenith” or the heavier parts like in “Complex Terms,” is a tremendously effective way to break what otherwise would be a monotony of stoppy, breakdownish riffs and progressive arrangements. The Human Abstract  His vocal performance was kind of the thing that convinced me that this record was definitely for real, because like so many other bands unfortunately haven’t been able to, The Human Abstract is able to walk the line between beautiful melody and raw extremity without the pieces sounding ham-fistedly jammed into the music.

That said, there are still some of the excesses of the -core genres that have make this record less-than-perfect. The tight, stoppy stuff sounds so damn fake. Going back to “Horizon to Zenith,” there’s this very jazzy riff that’s supposed to be a staccato performance that sounds like it was definitely recorded one note at a time and edited down to fit perfectly. The same kind of copy-and-paste feel to the editing shows up in “Holographic Sight” as well, and in a few other places. The record is also FUCKING LOUD, but I guess that goes with the territory, but maybe next time these guys consider avoiding the deathcore producer and maybe try to show off their musical talent in more acoustic and natural ways.

Still, Digital Veil is an excellent record. The blending between techy Meshuggahesque riffing, breakdowny riffing without the macho tough guy bullshit, Muse-style pop melodies and neo-classical showmanship gives the record a unique feel that I can honestly say I’ve never heard before. And it makes me happy to know that these guys are doing something of this magnitude that sounds and feels this damn good. I guess some people could complain, by the way, about the length of the record (38 minutes), but then ask yourself: how long is Reign in Blood? Do we really need an hour of mediocre music when we can have 38 minutes of excellent music? If you love neo-classical metal, djent, tech metal, metalcore, hell, any of the above, you should check this record out. I calls ’em like I hears ’em and Digital Veil sounds pretty damn good (even if one of the dudes in the band wears a fucking cocked baseball cap). Angry Metal Guy hath spoken, and it is good.

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  • mitch

    I would normally give this a skip
    but I just clicked download
    Let see shall we

  • Damn skippy. This is a good album that I’m still trying to wrap my head around.

  • Willie D.C.

    I just got the album today and it is definitely worth the listen. It is definitely around the taste of music i like. The guitars and the drums keep me listening. I love the sound. I recommend this album to anyone who is looking for a great progressive metal album. Should have been more songs but its still a great album regardless. PICK IT UP!

  • Adam

    The guy above me’s comment is so contrived I had to point it out;
    “This album is around my taste in music!
    The guitars and drums are both good!
    I love the sound!”

    C’mon Willie.

  • jAKE

    this shit throws me off. i’m looking for bands who have the potential of “nocturne”, and i find this shit… too many ads with nonsense. the new album is kind of lame. it still seems like the singer is trying to find himself. i think he is a great singer but, has yet to say fuck it and, do his own shit. i know he is already experienced but, it does not sound like it on “digital veil” (Or the previous) He sucks!!! He has limited expression under his mediocre lyrics and, should try harder on the next album. i still have faith in his ability….!

  • Mike

    Awful review, poor spelling and despite being a big fan of The Human Abstract, I disagree with the majority of what has been said here. Muse?!?

    The only thing I agree with is the fake and contrived production which is completely removed from their debut album, Nocturne which is tight whilst maintaining a raw sound which set them aside from other emerging tech metal outfits.

    The album is at best a 6.5/10

    • Poor spelling? Really? That’s your criticism? What have I misspelled that isn’t a made up word? I’m sorry, are you unhappy with me making “shit ton” a single word or using the word “chuggy”? Only a serious douchebag shows up and criticizes perfectly sound grammar and spelling on a blog.

      Oh, by the way, you didn’t use a comma in front of the word “which,” which means that you should have actually used the word “that” because it wasn’t starting a new clause. Also, the word “whilst” is an archaic form that is largely considered to be obsolete.

      Also, yes, Muse. (Incidentally, the sentence “Muse?!?” is a fragment, and your use of punctuation is excessive and redundant.)

  • Mike

    And Jake, just noticed your comment – yet again drenched in grammatical and spelling errors.

    The singer is experienced as a GUITARIST in From First to Last, and he was not present on Midheaven, the previous record.

    Get your facts straight. And learn to spell and grammaticise.

    Love Mike

    • You know, you’d think the guy overusing commas and starting sentences with the word ‘and’ wouldn’t be bitching about people’s grammar on the Internet.

    • Nate

      He was also a singer in From First to Last; you idiot. And yes during many mellow parts on the record they sound like Muse. You’d have to be a complete and utter dumbass not to notice it.

      All around. Great review, man. Been listening to record for the past month or so. Can’t get enough of it.

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