Veil of Maya

Eclipse

01. 20/200
02. Divide Paths
03. Punisher
04. Winter Is Coming Soon
05. The Glass Slide
06. Enter My Dreams
07. Numerical Scheme
08. Vicious Circles
09. Eclipse
10. With Passion and Power

[02/28/12]
[Sumerian Records]

So far this year, few records have been as highly anticipated as Veil of Maya‘s Eclipse. After Born of Osiris raised the bar last year with their third album The Discovery, many fans were looking towards Veil of Maya to see if they too would step up their game and tap into their progressive roots a bit further and rely on something other than breakdown-oriented songwriting. Obviously it’s unfair to base the expectations of one band based on the accomplishments of their label mates, but there were certainly high hopes for something new and exciting in the community. While not as striking in progress as The Discovery, Eclipse makes baby steps towards progress for Veil of Maya.

Eclipse isn’t too much of a wild departure for Veil of Maya; the band’s signature staples are all intact, with complex rhythms and intricate guitar riffs that bob and groove in the low end. However, Eclipse is no mere retread of the previous discography. Producer Misha Mansoor (Periphery) has definitely left his mark on Eclipse, in both songwriting and production. The tight and polished production is beefed up with layers of synth, which is new territory for the band. Take for instance the choir padding and piano melodies in ‘Punisher‘ and the synth lines harmonizing with Marc Okubo’s guitar solos in ‘Enter My Dreams‘ and ‘Numerical Scheme.‘; Veil of Maya have always relied on multiple layers of guitars, but there’s much more depth and a wide array of possibilities now that synth is involved in the equation.

Eclipse also sees the band taking a more melodic approach. The aforementioned synth layers really add a lot to the songs, but even the guitar work has stepped up remarkably in regards to melodic playing and leads. ‘The Glass Slide‘ and ‘Eclipse‘ are perfect examples of how absolutely blissful Veil of Maya can be, with many layers of guitars and post-rock style distant tremolo picking. As such, Eclipse feels much more lush than its predecessors. Those expecting Veil of Maya to remain in the realm of deathcore and maintain a relatively heavy sound shouldn’t be disappointed either, as there is still quite a favorability to low chugging riffs. ‘Enter My Dreams‘ is absolutely punishing as well, opening up as if they had suddenly transformed into a blackened death metal band.

What ultimately holds Eclipse back is its incredibly short runtime of 28 minutes, making this their shortest record yet. Veil of Maya are marketed as a progressive band, but most songs on Eclipse fall under the 3-minute mark. I keep wanting to hear how Veil of Maya handle themselves with songs approaching the 6 or 7-minute mark, as I know they could do great things given the breathing room. Admittedly, Veil of Maya can cram a lot into a small package, but the songs feel almost too claustrophobic and tightly packed. I keep wanting to hear them take a chance in this regard and they never really take it. This band could write prog epics if they wanted, and I can hear it in their versatility and technicality displayed across this record. Eclipse does leave much to be desired in this respect.

Even with its faults, Eclipse is the band’s most mature work yet. The band are as tight as ever, and this could be their best performances all around, both as individuals and as a cohesive unit. Eclipse does play it relatively safe, but is ultimately a forward progression for Veil of Maya that is sure to open new doors for them on future releases – assuming they can step out of their comfort zone even further.

Veil of Maya – Eclipse gets…

4/5

– JR