Album released March 8, 2011
Change can be a good thing, especially for a band trying to reenergize its fan base after their second album was a “sophomore slump.” For their third album, The Human Abstract sees the return of guitarist A.J. Minette along with new vocalist Travis Richter, former guitarist of From First to Last.
The album, entitled “The Digital Veil,” consists of only eight songs but there is no filler. Each song is memorable, but for different reasons. Some songs draw one in with complex and melodic guitar lines while other songs focus more on the vocal melody. The album requires several listens for one to fully digest it. There is a lot of music packed into these eight songs; crunching drum breakdowns, quiet interludes, time changes and epic guitar buildups are all scattered about the album in between soaring guitar lines and growling vocals.
The instrumental opener, “Elegiac,” sets the tone for the album perfectly, building up slowly from an acoustic guitar to a full blown electric guitar symphony. Guitarists A.J. Minette and Dean Herrera are both very technical players, from the sweeping scales on the title song to the lightning fast playing on “Antebellum, these boys can play with the best of them. However, Minette and Herrera distinguish themselves from most shredders by adding melody into their playing on songs like “Complex Terms” and aforementioned opener “Elegiac.” This album is an album that most guitarists dream of making.
Of course, the outstanding guitar playing would not be there if it was not for the performances of the rhythm section. Drummer Brett Powell and bassist Henry Selva play with reckless abandon on the album, changing the time signatures at will while keeping the beat (best displayed on the song “Holographic Sight”). Selva moves up and down the bass neck just as fast as a guitarist and Powell’s pounding on the drums reminds one of a more technical Lars Ulrich (Metallica) because of the emotion he displays.
The vocals on the album match the fury of the rest of the band, Travis Richter has a unique death metal growl which can either be a low rumble or a mid-range screech. One element Richter does particularly well is that he enunciates better than most metal frontmen. When Richter sings, he adds great melody to the music and makes some of the songs almost radio catchy, for instance on single “Faust.” Richter’s singing voice is very unique- sounding and does not sound like a run of the mill metalcore or melodic death metal vocalist. He has an almost warm baritone that is both powerful and emotional.
“Digital Veil” is one, if not the, best metal releases in along time. It has elements that fans of all kind of metal, from progressive, to metalcore, to death metal, can enjoy. It is both technical and melodic; catchy yet brutal. This is an album not to be missed!