Review Summary: neo-classical metalcore may seem like a ridiculous premise, but the result is an enjoyable, interesting album when its flaws are ignored.Digital Veil
involves a completely original take on metalcore. Strongly influenced by classical music, the album is filled with mindboggling technical riffs, riffs that noodle around for a legitimate reason. While the album bears some resemblance to Rhapsody of Fire’s From Chaos To Eternity
, The Human Abstract’s guitarist, A.J. Minette, made sure that the album would not sound like power metal. The result is a superbly written metalcore album that stands out due to its neo-classical bent.
Because the album is so classically influenced, it doesn’t feel as brutal as it actually is. The nonstop onslaught of riffs feel like the accompaniment (replacing a symphony) to an exciting scene at a play, where the audience holds their breath in tense anticipation for the climax, and when it comes the audience stand up and applause. Perhaps played live these energetic tracks could cause easily anxious teenagers to start a mosh pit, but when experienced through headphones, it feels incorrect to headbang to it. The album exudes a different kind of energy than that (although it’s certainly violent), for it is too well structured and calculated for the listener to ignore. It is the thinking man’s metalcore, if there ever was such a thing, and it begs for more contemplation than spine ripping. The only problem with this (and perhaps a major problem) is that neo-classical metalcore is a rather silly idea, a completely inappropriate genre collision. The album may be quite good, but one can't help laughing a bit at its ridiculousness.
The album is most compelling when guitars are given freedom to fly through scales, playing unorthodox, classical melodies. However, when the band show off their progressive side (a key part of the album’s musical style), it dramatically drags down the energy of songs and subsequently feels out of place. This is where the band’s classical musical influence gets the best of them, for it’s still supposed to be a metalcore album; tossing in supposedly epic singing sections (with rather poor singing) just doesn’t feel right, and sounds like a band trying too hard. The progressive metal elements in here do not belong, and some metalheads may consider the album to be boring as a result.
will ultimately divide listeners. The neoclassical and progressive style will seem fresh and exciting to some, while for others, it may seem boring and undesirably prominent. However, it’s nonetheless a unique, inspired metalcore album with excellent songwriting and enjoyably vicious technicality. In other words, despite its many, and obvious flaws, it’s a slam dunk, and although one could endlessly critique the dunk in question, it’s still a fucking slam dunk.