DEAD ON ARRIVAL: The Human Abstract – Digital Veil

Every once in a while, I am unfortunate to hear an album so awful, so unimaginative, and so boring that I will physically take the CD and throw it out of the window of my car while driving down the highway (see: St. Anger and The Fall of Rome by Winter Solstice). Yes, I still listen to CDs. They just sound better.

I can proudly say to you that another album now holds this distinguished honor.

I decided to listen to The Human Abstract’s Digital Veil (released today at a Walmart near you) after it received heavy doses of praise from the guys over at MetalSucks (some even calling it “one of the best albums of the year so far”). The first thought that popped into my head was “Are they getting paid to promote this shit?”

This album is terrible. Be prepared for 36 minutes of the biggest attempt to mimic Between the Buried and Me you’ve ever heard. Nothing about Digital Veil stands out. Boring riff after boring classically-influenced guitar arpeggios, you are pummeled with mediocrity like it’s Yngwie Malmsteen’s Unleash the Fury, except Yngwie Malmsteen gets a pass because he has actually released good albums before and The Human Abstract have not.

The thing that really bothers me is the fact that it’s 2011 and, considering the competitiveness of the music industry, this band makes no attempt at trying to come up with anything original. It’s metal…GRAB THE LISTENER BY THE FUCKING THROAT. You want to know why metal bands don’t make the big money from album sales? Because 95% of them are fucking terrible and put out trite, unoriginal, emotionless garbage out year after year. The Human Abstract is no different.

The only time I thought I might get into this album was during the beginning of the title track, “Digital Veil”. That was until I realized I’ve heard this song a million times before by twenty different bands who all did it better.

Final verdict: If you’re a fan of falling asleep from boredom with your headphones on, then this album is totally for you. As for me, I’m going to listen to the new BTBAM song, which is actually creative and written by a band that tries to do big things instead of pretend they’re another band.



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25 Responses to DEAD ON ARRIVAL: The Human Abstract – Digital Veil

  1. derpa says:

    I completely disagree, this is on of my favorite album so far this year. It doesn’t begin to compare to BTBAM or Devin Townsend or anything else that might come this year, and it might not be the most original, but neither is anything else. We all rip off Meshuggah. This album is damn fun to listen to, and the production is some of the best of the genre.

    • Well, some people will like it. Some people won’t. Can’t please them all!

      Did you hear that new BTBAM song? Shit makes me want to hunt Vikings.

      Thanks for taking the time to read my all-out assault this album though, haha. Check out our other music reviews!

  2. Sean says:


    I really liked ‘Patterns’, but was disappointed by the other ‘samples’ they put out a while back. I was hoping the album as a whole would come through in the end… The singer change-up was a big enough let down…

    Can Protest the Hero pick up the slack on the 22nd?

  3. MajorZim says:

    Wow, way to completely undervalue great musicianship and songwriting. This album is fantastic and i’ve been listening to it non-stop since i got it. Now, with that said, i completely understand how you could think this. This album doesnt hit you instantly. theres simply too much to process in one listen. The more i’ve listened to each song, the more i’ve noticed and appreciated what they have created and it is incredible how well made it is. I guarantee you if you listen to ANY of these songs more you will like them.

    • I can tip my hat at their skill and telent as musicians, absolutely. I just feel the musical climate is much too dry and competitive to be releasing material that, in my opinion, fails to broaden this listeners horizons. I know this band has fans and this style of songwriting has fans, but I just don’t think this band is doing anything noteworthy that deserves generous praise. I understand what they’re trying to do with these grand soundscapes and classically influenced movements, but its almost like the metal element feels forced and uncreative. Its all territory that’s been covered before. Just my opinion. But I’m glad you took the time to read my review! I will admit that the title tracks intro keeps popping into my head randomly. Damnit!

  4. Sickreviewbrah says:

    Yeah the 6 minute “clip” of BTBAM’s new shit sounds exactly like the past two cds: Heavy parts that are boring and unmemorable, and yet another attempt at trying to be a metal king crimson. Sorry dude I used to love BTBAM too but I’m so over that shit it’s not even funny. If they stop trying to put 8,000 parts that barely flow from one to another I could maybe stomach listening to their 8 minute+ long “songs”.

    This cd is decent. I don’t think it’s ground changing but it’s not anywhere near the level of the shitfest known as “St. Anger”. I still don’t get why people compare THA to BTBAM. Two totally different bands with way different composition styles. You must be a diehard BTBAM fanboy.

    • To be honest, I haven’t been really pumped off of anything BTBAM has done since Alaska. I get tired of listening to a new riff every 15 seconds. It’s like they forgot how to write songs with a common theme and purpose (like on Alaska). But I’ll take BTBAM over THA any day, especially the new song which grows on me the more I listen to it. You can’t deny the similarities between the two…THA is BTBAM without the blastbeats and a dose more of classical composition. Tell me, with a straight face, that when you hear “Complex Terms” you don’t think of “Selkies: The Endless Obsession”.

      I’m a diehard fan of all things AWESOME. And The Human Abstract is not that.

      Thanks for checking out the review! Check out our other music shit here:

  5. Sickreviewbrah says:

    Well even though I’ve listened to Selkies a million times I just listened to THA’s “complex terms” and “Selkies” back to back and here is my straight face telling you that no, they don’t sound that “similar”. Alaska is by far my favorite cd by BTBAM and I still don’t understand how the two are that “similar”. Different playing style, different tunings, different influences.

    I respect your opinion but your points aren’t convincing me.

  6. Massive Homo says:

    Them be some entertaining comments.
    Can’t say I agree with the interview. Though 2 songs bore the shit out of me. Complex terms is great and the only relation to BTBAM I can hear other than “they playz fast guitarz” are the Growls. You guys should probs grow up a bit and stop fighting over music some guys made. Just sayin’

  7. Guimaj1435 says:

    While I completely disagree with your review, I respect your opinion. What the world be if everybody liked the same thing?

    Just out of curiousity what are the usual bands that you listen to?

    • Brad Whiteside says:

      Dillinger Escape Plan, Trap Them, Early Graves, Protest the Hero, Testament, Animals As Leaders, Thrice, Slayer, Amogh Symphony, Sikth, At The Gates, August Burns Red, Deftones, He Is Legend, Periphery (the instrumental versions), I Am The Ocean, Circa Survive, Ion Dissonance, Judas Priest, Motley Crue…all sorts of shit. I’m currently listening to The End’s “Elementary” album. You?

  8. katielou says:

    I disagree completly with what you say, but never mind – everyone is entitled to what they think etc.
    its just that you said ‘Yngwie Malmsteen gets a pass because he has actually released good albums before and The Human Abstract have not.’
    clearly you havent heard THAs first album Nocturne?
    anway, im not gonna bitch at you just because our opinions differ – just hope you can appreciate that there are lots of people who have loved THAs previous albums!

    • Brad Whiteside says:

      Oh, I totally understand that there are TONS of people who love THA. No arguing there.

      You know, I listened to Nocturne back when it came out and I was into it for a hot minute. I though the band would only get better and better with time, but I just lost interest. Just this guy’s opinion. Thanks for reading it though, and for being a reasonable dude, I really do appreciate it. Hopefully we will agree on something down the line!

  9. Mrs. Mint says:

    ok, so I used to like them somewhat, when i saw them with Protest the Hero and As I Lay Dying a few years ago, and I liked them then….I was an occasional listener I guess….

    But I have only heard a few songs off of Digital Veil from what they played at the show I went to a couple weeks ago as part of the Atticus Metal tour- And I can’t say I was astonished like everyone else seems to be…. (I only went to see Born of Osiris, and was in the basement shithole considered a green room most of the time so I didn’t hear much,but it was great to meet alot of the guys….but I did make a point to go behind the stage and listen to a bit of each bands set.) But honestly,what I heard of THA’s new stuff didn’t really motivate me to even check out Digital Veil at all really….

    I have seen NOTHING BUT RAVING reviews on this album, but my husband says it sucks, and that I would probably be annoyed as hell if I really took the time to listen to it. (He knows my likes and dislikes pretty well)…I will still give it a listen, only because I once liked their music…. But I don’t like disappointment. I will give the whole album a thorough listen today and we shall see…. I will make it known how I feel about it…. no doubt about that.

    I trust your guys’ album reviews, because they have been consistant with my own thoughts on many of them….so yea, to be continued,,,,,

    • Mrs. Mint says:

      Ew….. after giving it a good listen…. I got bad feelings… it just sounds like everything else. Im sad. I shouldn’t of listened and just kept the good memories of their first album in my head….disappointed.

      • Brad Whiteside says:

        You hear the new Born of Osiris album? I’ve got a review in the pipeline for it. Stay tuned!

      • Dillinger says:

        I honesty don’t know where you get off here. THA’s new vocalist can at least break from haunting roars to heavenly melodics in an instant. The musical structure of each song screams more originality than their first album ever could. You are listening in with intensions to find something to be disappointed about due to this blind sited revue. There is a reason this album has been praised with very little publicity fr the mainstream market. Back up your objections instead of simply saying it sounds like everything else. Examples are short coming when people suggest it’s unoriginal tripe. Your ‘ew’ is no acception, hence I disregard it.

      • Mrs. Mint says:

        of course i have heard the new BOO. Had it the moment I could get my hands on it. Its definitely different from their previous albums….. alot of fillers tho… but the songs that are bad ass are BAD ASS. I think they were really trying to go for a longer album…. as opposed to the max of 10 songs…. it brings me back to a article I read from 09 on MetalSucks when they were asked what the difference is between “A Higher Place” and “A New Reign” and they say its the length of the album….ha…. yea… (same interview that made it clear they didnt know who Glenn Danzig was.. I did not pass up the opportunity to give one of them some shit for that whole interview.)
        ANYWHO cant wait to read your review!!!!!

  10. Dillinger says:

    You are a fucking troll that is attempting to gain hits through comparing bands that are in no way are alike. Get some ears man. I’d respect your opinion if you had one that was actually an opinion and not an attempt to try and individualize yourself by putting another (already defined) band on the pedestal while trying to gain views and hits from kicking and screaming like a spoilt shit of a kid that got the wrong toy for Christmas.

    • Brad Whiteside says:

      You want my review? Here it goes…

      I listened to this album for a solid week before I put anything down that resembled a review. I listen to every album that comes out with an open mind…that’s my job. See, that’s the difference between you and I: objectivity. Since you’re a fan of this band, you already have a bias towards them. As for myself, I gave them a shot back when Nocturne came out and thought they were decent and looked forward to how they would progress. Obviously not well, because after multiple lineup changes and a lukewarm Midheaven, they’re writing similar work but just a little more polished and a little more mature.

      In the above comment to one of our readers, you mentioned (very cornily) “THA’s new vocalist can at least break from haunting roars to heavenly melodics in an instant” which implies you think he’s, at the very least, a good vocalist. He’s not. Sebastian Bach is a great vocalist. Greg Puciato is a great vocalist. Travis Richter is borderline mediocre. His layered screams (nothing I haven’t heard before) and dull melodies that are executed like a tone-deaf teenager who relies on auto-tune too much, are nothing new or exciting. Nothing about the vocal performance stands out or attempts to create something special in any way, shape, or form. So now that we’re done in that category…

      I could write a review on the merits of the guitar playing and the band as musicians. I could give you plenty of reasons as to why they are talented. Does that mean they write interesting songs? In my opinion, no. The thing that made me hate Digital Veil is that it’s bland, passive, and completely boring. Materially, there is nothing here that has not been done before in terms of blending classical composition with technical metal. And I’m sorry, but just because you can play arpeggios over and over again does not mean you are a good song writer. It means you’ve taken a lot of guitar classes.

      You mentioned in the above comment to one of our readers that this album has been praised without the help of the mainstream market. Well, no shit…bands like this aren’t part of the mainstream market. And they did have help from relevant sites such as MetalSucks, who were jocking this album for months before it was released, along with other metal websites (who all are getting paid with ad revenue to do so, most likely, whereas this website does not receive a dime).

      The bottom line, when it comes down to The Human Abstract argument, comes down to whether you are a fan or not. Fans of this band will go for your throat if you say anything bad about them. That’s fine. But don’t come in here crying about it and acting like I’m not entitled to say it’s a boring pile of shit. Your opinion has as much weight as mine. On the other hand, for every person that loves this band, there is someone out there that hates it. I tried to understand Digital Veil, and I just don’t see the appeal. If I had to give it a score, I would give it a 2 / 5. If I had to give the guitar playing a score, it would be 4 / 5. If I had to give them a score in creativity, it would be a 1 / 5.

      As far as trolling goes…who gives a shit? Get off your moral high horse. I’m submitting an opinion for others to read. Is it heavy handed? Yes…it makes for an entertaining read (to those that hate the band anyway, haha). I know it might be hard for you to accept the fact that people don’t have the same interests and taste in music as you do, but don’t come crying into my neighborhood just to shit in my lawn.

      So, let’s just agree to disagree. We could argue all day. I’m sure there is plenty of music out there we can see eye to eye on (Dillinger? Hell yeah. In fact, Greg loved the review I did on their free SF show so much he reposted it on his Twitter and Dillinger’s Facebook)

      • Dillinger says:

        I will agree to disagree. But know that I am not a fan of this band and I do respect how you responded this time around. Don’t get me wrong man, everybody is allowed to have their opinion on anything they want. If they didn’t, we would all listen to what get’s shoved in our faces. At the same time I am just not a fan about how you wrote about the album. You wrote with the intention of stiring the pot only because of the albums high praised and you even admitted to trolling it, which in my opinion (and profession) is borderline stupidity. You say that this is your job but you wrote this like an angry Star Wars blogger would have written about The Phantom Menace.

        Sorry man, last time I come here.

        And don’t roll out the red carpet for yourself with bands like Dillinger. I interviewed Ben Weinman on thanksgiving for fuck sake. Allow me to brag if you will:

        Listen, at the end of the day. I’m sure you are a good bloke. But I ain’t here to get a dick rub or give one out, I am here because there are very few bands and ‘artists’ that should be trolled about; The Human Abstract, having been primarily independent in their marketing and only received praise AFTER being listened to – is not one that deserves it. What you should do is take this negative energy and focus it on either Justin Bieber or some sex…maybe both. *shrugs*

      • ZzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz…

      • Mrs. Mint says:

        that explains my ‘ew’ much more eloquently.

  11. Pingback: Between The Buried And Me Blow Minds With The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues « Wrecked Reviews – Music, Video Games, And Entertainment – Bay Area

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