Veil Of Maya

Matriarch

Written by: MAK on 15/07/2015 21:54:59

There have been changes in the Veil of Maya camp in terms of both personnel and musical style. New vocalist Lukas Maygar records his first album for the Illinois metal outfit, and with him he takes the band in a slightly new direction towards a more metalcore influenced sound full of clean vocals and catchy riffs instead of the progressive deathcore style some of the older fans have come to know.

Three years after "Eclipse" was released comes this latest outing "Matriarch", Veil of Maya’s fifth studio album and their fourth on Sumerian Records. "Matriarch" makes a nod to strong female fictional characters from anime, manga or other fantasy worlds, naming each song after a character most nerdy types would recognise, such as "Daenerys" (Game of Thrones), "Leeloo" (The Fifth Element), "Mikasa" (Attack on Titan) and "Aeris" (Final Fantasy VII).

One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the musical technicality provided by guitarist Mark Okubu. Although his talents may not be as intricately on display as on previous releases, the guitarist does continue to amaze with the freedom for complexity in his riff- and melody-writing that has become the signature of 'Maya's sound. The same can be said for stick man Sam Applebaum, his mosaic of drumming patterns keeping the average player second guessing their own ability. Veil of Maya's tenacity remains strong as ever as well: video single “Mikasa” is pure onslaught on the ears from the start. Maygar’s ability to switch from the most savage harsh vocals to angelic clean singing emulates some of the best vocalists in the genre, hitting from the lowest roars to high-pitched singing with ease without sounding like he has a man missing his testicles - very similar, in fact, to A Day to Remember’s Jeremy McKinnon.

Surprisingly, the songs that work best here are the ones that are unlike anything Veil of Maya have released before. The likes of "Ellie" and "Aeris" are possibly the least complex songs on the album, but their incredibly catchy choruses, and Maygar’s impressive singing voice are instrumental in carrying the songs in the right direction. The words “But I am alive” stick out like a sore thumb as they are singled out from the rest of "Ellie", and there can be no doubt that when this is played live, the crowd will be singing those words right back at the Chicago, IL four-piece.

As mentioned earlier in this review, Veil of Maya have always employed a melodic style of riffs, but until now these had never been the basis of entire songs; in the past, these would act as passages in the middle of the brutal chugs. The transition from deathcore to metalcore thus seems to be a way to make Maygar’s cleans fit the music more smoothly. And while this decision may alienate some of the band's older fans, it will certainly attract the attention of a new breed of listeners. The slight simplicity, catchy choruses and words to sing along to could be the factors that will move them toward gaining a more mainstream following.

"Matriarch" is a decent attempt from Veil of Maya at pushing their own boundaries and escaping their comfort zone. Despite the fact that the metallers could easily have chosen to find another deathcore vocalist and continue on the path set by their repertoire hitherto, they have opted for a different one and managed to create a solidly executed metalcore album that could contend with the likes of In Hearts Wake’s recent output.

7

Download: Mikasa, Aeris, Ellie
For the fans of: Bury Tomorrow, In Hearts Wake, After the Burial, Born of Osiris, All Shall Perish
Listen: Facebook

Release date 12.05.2015
Sumerian Records

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