Veil of Maya – Matriarch (Sumerian)

Tuesday, 12th May 2015
Rating: 6.5/10

When an established band veers with a sharp left-hand turn, there’s the potential that it can truly boost them up to the next level or the chance that their fan base is alienated and you see a correction of the changes within a few albums’ time. Long-time deathcore band Veil of Maya looked in this direction when they parted ways with vocalist Brandon Butler last fall. Enlisting new vocalist Lukas Magyar, Veil of Maya went about to elevate their sound to the next level with Matriarch. But will fans be in agreement about this about-face?

The band has been pretty open about how they wanted to progress their sound. The foremost example of this (and debate-causing) will be that of the inclusion of clean vocals. While single “Mikasa” is easily the most commercially-viable of the album, the Periphery-inspired cleans do play a major part in the album. Couple that with some djent-styled riffing that the band has brought in more of throughout the years and you have an album that some could take as a band pushing themselves towards the mainstream. But given the stifling nature of the deathcore genre, can you really blame them for finally trying to step outside the boundaries?

To the band’s credit, Matriarch doesn’t sound like a band blatantly pushing towards the limelight, instead adding some more influences to their sound. They don’t immediately rely upon the cleans and use them as a crutch, as punishing tracks like “Phoenix” will confirm. “Leeloo” also opens the album in a way that should ease the concerns of many older fans. In other cases, the clean/harsh dynamic adds some atmosphere to a slower track like “Daenerys” or some diversity to the more traditional, breakdown chugging of “Teleute.”

All in all, Veil of Maya’s choice to change things up isn’t a bad one. However, the incessant nature of some of the breakdowns and djent-y chugs as well as the electronic elements keep the band from really spreading their wings for flight. Perhaps this experiment will give the band the confidence to go one step further next time.

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