Veil of Maya have been thought to be like the saviors of deathcore as of late, what with the mild progressive elements and Meshuggah inspired math metal chugging. With a strong debut album The Common Man’s Collapse under their belts and a growing and dedicated fan base, they showed a hell of a lot of potential. I admit, I fell into the hype machine. Ever since the release of the song “Namaste”, I was super excited about the new Veil of Maya album [id]. That song was actually catchy and had a few interesting elements, such as the LOST number in the breakdown and effect-laden guitar leads. “Unbreakable” seemed like a pretty cool song as well. I was eagerly awaiting this album. Well, hype is a bastard.
If you’ve heard Veil of Maya before and thought “Well, this is pretty cool. These guys could definitely be going somewhere” were hoping for some sort growth as songwriters, then you’re going to be disappointed. For a so-called progressive metal band, they sure like to stick to a solid formula. Throughout the record, you’ll be thinking to yourself, “How long is this song, and when are they going to change it up?” It doesn’t happen often.
Maybe I’m putting off the wrong tone. [id] isn’t a bad album. It shows some promise at times with some experimentation with weird guitar effects and synths played over top of the odd-timed pummeling. There are even some short-lived moments of exhilaration. VoM also do good to try to play things other than one note chugfest breakdowns and they pull out some interesting riffs, but this doesn’t happen as much as I’d like. [id] shows some greatness and strokes of brilliance, but those are often outweighed by pitfalls and filler.
As you’d imagine, breakdowns are around every corner. That’s to be expected, but there’s rarely any variance. Even the good breakdowns with the weird guitar effects sound the same to each other. There are moments where synth breaks up (and into) the action. The synth is very interesting, but could have played a bigger and more important part. I can’t help but think they were an afterthought.
Drums back the polyrhythmic guitar playing and generally do driving rhythmic work without much showing off. However, for a few moments in the stand-out song “Dark Passenger”, Sam Applebaum’s jazz-influenced frantic drumming takes the highlight. Brandon Butler’s vocals are the same as they ever were, which may or may not be a good thing. I mean, he’s got two, maybe three different things he can do. He’s not very versatile, and I’d like to hear more going on. Matt Pantelis’ bass playing doesn’t stand out too much, and that’s expected out of deathcore, but there are actually audible basslines in places that distance themselves from Marc Okubo’s patented ‘djent-chug-melodic lead drowned in effects’ guitar work, as in “Namaste.” If you have the right audio system or a good pair of headphones, you can hear the underlying crunch much better.
Going on under 30-minutes, [id] is over before you know it. Ultimately, [id] tends to pale in comparison to The Common Man’s Collapse. However, this is an album that does get better on repeated listens, after you’ve had time to dissect the music and listen to individual parts within context instead of seeing the album as a whole as a samey mess of breakdowns.
So, are Veil of Maya saviors of deathcore? Not likely. But can they churn out a pretty good deathcore album? You bet.
Veil of Maya – [id] gets