At long last, we get to see why 2011 is going to be an amazing year for metal, particularly prog. There's no more teasers or singles to be released. The veil has been lifted. Digital Veil, the third release from LA's rejuvenated prog metallers in The Human Abstract, is upon us.
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With their 2006 debut effort, Nocturne, the sky seemed to be the limit for The Human Abstract. Their success with seamlessly blending classical musical styles and guitar sections that would utterly melt your face off landed them with a pretty dedicated following. Much of Nocturne's success was accredited to the creative control that was had by guitarist A.J. Minette. Much to the dismay of many fans, including myself, A.J. unfortunately decided to take a leave from the band not all too long after Nocturne's initial release. If any didn't believe that he was the key composer and essential life force to the band, then 2008s hiccup of Midheaven was surely proof of that. While it did have certain strengths, Midheaven was by no stretch of the imagination an album that lived up to The Human Abstract's true potential.
Luckily enough, however, A.J. being absent from the band and Midheaven being an indication of where the band was headed is all ancient news. A.J. is now back, former singer Nathan Ells is replaced with the former screamer/guitarist of From First To Last, Travis Richter, and a brand new album is here to make an early claim as being one of the best albums 2011 will have to offer.
Simply put, Digital Veil is the real deal. Old school fans will love it. New comers will love it. The classical styles of song composition and the technically astonishing guitar sections are all here and accounted for. However, both of these elements, which most likely drew you to The Human Abstract in the first place, have been refined and mastered to the nth degree on this album. These guys have never been a band that are technical for the sake of being technical. They have plenty of technical sections, but they use them in a way that not only flow well but also seem effortless.
The introduction of their new singer, Travis Richter, also proved to be a huge payoff for the band. Travis brings a whole other level of intensity to the band previously unknown with Nathan at the helm. The screams are much more vicious and the singing is much more pure. His performance on Digital Veil is flawless. While listening to the album, I never once thought to myself that a particular screaming or singing section was misplaced. The vocals were perfectly balanced.
All in all, this album delivers 110%. The only real complaint I've read about this album, thus far, is regarding its total length. Being 8 songs long, Digital Veil times in at being approximately 37 minutes long. While I would like more songs on this album as the next guy, I also wouldn't want to compromise the overall quality of the album. I would much rather have 8 amazing tracks than say around 10 where a few of those tracks would just be less then spectacular fillers. With that aside, I'm sure we can all agree that this album is something special. With A.J. being back and the addition of Travis to the mix, it seems The Human Abstract have found their formula for moving forward. Be sure to expect great things from this band.