Of Mice & Men
The Mo Club, Southampton, UK - 16/4
The Human Abstract
Written by: AP on 01/08/2011 00:25:14
Following Nathan Ells' stirring departure, and his swift replacement by Travis Richter, formerly a seven year guitarist and vocalist for cult post-hardcore outfit From First To List, The Human Abstract have experienced a veritable publicity storm. Richter's arrival in a much heavier, much more technical musical community shocked some and angered others, while the poor reception of the band's previous album "Midheaven", their first without musical mastermind A. J. Minette among their ranks, forecasted the band's imminent demise. Indeed, the future appeared bleak for The Human Abstract, who with their 2006 debut "Nocturne" were earmarked as a band with huge promise in the progressive metal scene. Not surprisingly, it was with a mixture of emotions that we received news about a new album in the works; Minette once again part of the troop as well as producing the effort; and a new vocalist with no experience in the genre purported to be replacing Ells.
Indeed, few could anticipate the majestic return to form that cascaded from these changes and distilled into "Digital Veil", one of the most riveting, vibrant and pre-eminent progressive metal albums of recent years. Beginning with the exquisitely melancholic instrumental piece reminiscent of Vivaldi, the band is quick to establish its neo-classical influences on "Elegiac", setting the ground for the mixture of soaring arpeggios and grinding aggression that is to follow. The sound is not unlike that purveyed by Between the Buried and Me since "Colors" - in fact, Richter's deep bellows are almost indistinguishable from those of Tommy Rogers, and the instrumentation is equally breathtaking - although "Digital Veil" is more immediate in offering rewards, the longest song, "Antebellum", amounting to a "mere" 7 and a half minutes, half that of its counterpart, "White Walls". Another crucial difference is Richter's clean singing, which, above all, bears an uncanny resemblance to Matthew Bellamy's emotive croon - especially on the unbelievable "Horizon to Zenith" - which, when combined with the underlying classical melodies, results in a sound equally stunning and independent as that of Between the Buried and Me.
Like "Colors" also, "Digital Veil" is a masterfully written record, in which the individual songs have both the strength to stand out and the elegance to combine into a cohesive symphony. Assaulting as it is beautiful, of heaven and of hell at once, "Digital Veil" is the kind of album that will be remembered for decades to come. Upon hearing the astounding instrumental prowess and exceptional songwriting skill of "Digital Veil", which span from the advanced Baroque compositions within "Antebellum" to the brutal grind of "Holographic Sight", your inevitable first reaction will be an almost surreal sensation of "holy shit", followed closely by a desperate thirst for more as "Horizon to Zenith" and "Patterns" conclude the album in a triumphant finale. "Digital Veil" is progressive metal at its finest, infinitely complex; written with intelligence; performed with grace.
Download: Complex Terms, Antebellum, Horizon to Zenith, Patterns
For the fans of: Between the Buried and Me, Scale the Summit, White Arms Of Athena
Release date 08.03.2011