We check out Veil of Maya’s new opus after a longer break, and a brand new vocalist…
Label: Sumerian Records
Release date: 12th May 2015
After carrying his Fed Ex parcel all that time our hero Chuck Noland finally completes his delivery to that house in rural Texas, standing at the metaphorical crossroads his true journey begins. Having not released anything since 2012’s Eclipse, Veil Of Maya had been incredibly quiet the past couple of years. Coming to the end of their touring cycle for their previous album it was announced that previous Veil Of Maya vocalist had decided to quit that band. Most would have thought that this left the band without a paddle, flash forward to May 2015 and the band have just released their fifth album Matriarch. With the search for the band’s new singer culminating in the addition of vocalist Lukas Magyar of Arms Of Empire, Matriarch is not only important for the bands future but also for their integrity.
From what I can conceive it would seem that Matriarch is in a sense a concept album. Though there are some that elude me, I shall add in who I feel the names of the tracks relate to. Upon first listen I have to say I was very disappointed, listening to “Nyu” (Anime character) and “Leeloo” (Female protagonist of Fifth Element) the songs almost blended into one. With stock classic Veil Of Maya style stop start riffs and well seemed pretty stale and boring. However once we got to “Ellie” and the sense of melody burst forth, with the first example of licks instead of the classic modern day metal palm muted off beats it truly is a breath of fresh air. Having enlisted Periphery vocalist Spencer Sotelo to take care of vocal recordings with Magyar, the producer did an outstanding job With the singer meeting the harmonies of the band perfectly. Single “Mikasa” (Attack On Titan headstrong gal) was our first taste of the new breed of Veil Of Maya, with the inclusion of clean vocals being a first for the band it would seem that their inclusion is anything but detrimental to the band’s sound. Creating varying levels of emotion from the band when in the past they have had the delivery remain the same. It makes for a completely 180 degrees turn around of the band. “Aeris” final Fantasy female character) has gotten radio written all over it. With the soaring vocals, electronics and harmonious leads culminating to form a truly uproarious chorus.
Matriarch I would imagine might upset purists, however for those looking for something more technical “Teluete” (A female character described as Death) delivers fantastically, easily the fastest track on the album and featuring a guest solo by Chelsea Grin‘s Jason Richardson, the song reaches a jarring mid section as it begins to pick up speed before the all out assault. Rhythmically concentrated “Phoenix” (Jean Grey of Xmen?) delivers the classic Veil Of Maya sound with the emphasis being more on the harsher vocals. In the wake of the fast paced ripper, we’re slowly moved into ballad like “Daenerys” (Game Of Thrones’ leading lady) one of the slowest tracks on the album which doesn’t diminish in songwriting whatsoever.
In order to realise the full effect of the album, like most it has to be put into context. This is a modern day metal album if there ever was one, with vocal and guitar trickery that sounds like there’s a glitch in the Matrix. Though at the crux of it not all the music is incredibly complex which should make for live performances to be close to the sound of the record. The overall theme of the album seems to be that headstrong and influential female leaders, mystical ethereal qualities abound with instrumental title track “Matriarch” sounding similar to a futuristic junkyard turned orchestra. Also not being a specific name of a woman seems to be a late overture of the record.
With Matriarch, Veil Of Maya return triumphantly, proving their trepidatious steps towards this new album were taken with the utmost care needed. Through the inclusion of newer elements of melody feeds the starved creative sense that was felt to me on Eclipse. Renewing their sense of vigour Veil Of Maya return to the scene stronger than ever, it would seem as though Noland chose the right path at those cross roads…