Digital Veil is the third and most recent album by US-based tech/progressive metal/core band The Human Abstract. Their previous effort blew me away because of its highly original take on the progressive side of metal and hardcore. With that in mind I couldn’t wait to put their latest album in my CD-player. Needless to say I was again very surprised by the technical and progressive frolics of these Americans…
Digital Veil is the next step in the band’s evolution. On the one hand this album is a return to the harsher days of old. On the other hand the band managed to retain the melodic sensibilities, the depth and “soul” of Midheaven. Oddly enough Digital Veil reminds me of the later albums by God Forbid, because of the emphasis on technical and melodic guitar parts and the massive clean sung vocals. I guess the classical training of guitarist A.J Minette has a lot to do with that.
This album is also a true djent fest in the best Meshuggah, Byzantine and Periphery tradition. Tracks like Complex Terms, Faust and Holografic Sight are as technically proficient as they come. On Antebellum, Horizon To Zenith and Patterns the more progressive side of the band shines through. The aforementioned Horizon To Zenith revolves around a very Muse inspired vocal line. At first it seems odd, but it works quite well. With 38 minutes Digital Veil is somewhat on the short side, however because of the intensity of the song material it’s for the better, I guess.
Sound wise Digital Veil has a very clear, yet heavy sound. It makes the band members’ individual antics clearly audible and it gives the album the aggressive drive this kind of music demands.
It’s hard to say whether I prefer Digital Veil or Midheaven, because both albums differ like day and night from each other. What I can say is that The Human Abstract raised the stakes with this album and that they’re every bit as good as Between The Buried And Me, Protest The Hero and fellow peers in the djent subgenre.
Written by Raymond Westland