The Human Abstract is a progressive metal band out of Los Angeles, California known for not only technical skill but songwriting prowess. After some lineup changes and a switch to a new record label E1 Music, the band has finally released their newest album Digital Veil on March 8, 2011. Let’s see what this release has to offer, given the new vocalist Travis Richter, and a returned member in AJ Minette.
The album starts off beautifully with an opening track that begins with an acoustic riff that soon electrifies and has a very expansive feel to it, and it’s obvious that AJ Minette certainly can’t be truly pigeonholed as a metal guitarist, as he reportedly feared. However, that’s not to say he can’t shred with the most brutal of them, as songs like the title track and “Faust” prove quite well.
Where this album really shines though, in my opinion, and what sets it apart from many other bands, is the songwriting. “Antebellum” is an absolute epic and in some moments is also very catchy. Occasionally I felt that if the band Muse had actual skilled musicians with technical sensibilities and better songwriting, this might be what they would sound like, as Travis Richter sounds just as awesome singing clean vocals as he does growling and screaming, and many tracks often have a cinematic feel to them.
Other standout tracks are present too like “Holographic Sight”, which like much of the rest of the album, is quite mathy and has a breakdown that may make you wonder if your CD is skipping until you remember you’re listening to digital music. However, this doesn’t come across as cheesy or gimmicky, and fits the song quite well somehow. “Complex Terms is great too, and is quite aptly named as the time signatures and technicality of this song may have your head spinning, but it still has some brilliantly melodic, and almost jazzy solo work.
Production-wise the album sounds great as well, with the entire album sounding crisp and yet chunky, if you will, in a manner that is very appropriate for the technicalities and nuances of the music.
Overall, I’d say that Digital Veil is a great album, and quite possibly the band’s best yet. Can’t wait to see these guys live if they tour through my area.