VEIL OF MAYA…a band that quite frankly is so polarizing it’s ridiculous. On the one hand you have guys like me who absolutely love them, and on the other you have the detractors who hide behind their keyboards and spew vitriol just because they can. I can also say that they were unequivocally THE highlight of last summer’s Mayhem Fest for me, and one of my main reasons for going. Fast forward to today, and there’s a new vocalist (Lukas Magyar) in town, and a new album Matriarch (out now on Sumerian Records), which I’ve had for about a week and change to sit and digest, so I’m ready to share my thoughts with you now.
Is this album different from anything VEIL OF MAYA has done in the past? Absolutely. Is that necessarily a bad thing? Nope. Now, the all-important question…is it any good? Well, to that I answer a resounding “YIS!” The addition of clean vocals may shock the hell out of some people, but to those of us who are more evolved they fit like hand in glove, especially on a song like “Ellie”. First single “Mikasa” is another one that has an anthemic chorus that I found myself singing for hours after I first heard it.
As far as sheer menacing brutality goes, look no further than “Lucy” a sledgehammer of a song that is guaranteed to knock some dicks in the dirt. Magyar absolutely nails it on this one, and I can’t wait to hopefully hear it live on this year’s Summer Slaughter. The band has definitely stepped up their game, not just here but on other songs. Marc Okubo continues to show his prowess without getting too breakdown-y, and Dan Hauser (bass) and Sam Applebaum (drums) are borderline insane on parts of this record. “Phoenix” is one of those insane moments; it’s got this “Hit-you-in-the-chest” beat that just keeps going throughout and makes you want to throw bricks through windows (But don’t, because that’s frowned upon).
“Teleute” has some crazy guitar patterns whirling about and a stop-and-go pattern thanks to Applebaum. Hell, the wife even said, “Good drummage” when she walked by, so there’s that! This was also a favorite track of mine from jump. “Daenerys” has a nice chug-chug rhythm over which Magyar can scream his lungs out and then go back to his cleans, all while Okubo continues to paint such pictures with his guitar it’s hard not to be enthralled. Closer “Lisbeth” is another winner, and it leaves you in disbelief that the record is over already, because it does go by very quickly. I think this is one of Lukas’ best performances on the disc, and a fine way to end the record.
Overall I think VEIL OF MAYA are headed in a good direction and Matriarch only drives that point home further, despite the fact that some songs are blink-and-you’ll-miss-it in length.. This is a very, very good record that might not hit you right away. But stick with it, give it a second or third listen. You’ll dig it, I promise.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Teleute”, “Lisbeth”, “Mikasa”, “Lucy”, “Ellie”, “Phoenix”