Review Summary: Deathsnore
Many would ask if there’s anything more predictable in the metal world than deathcore. The obvious answer is no. Concerning Veil of Maya things get a little more complicated. Just days after their latest album leaked, pundits around the interworldwideweb were hailing them to be the saviours of deathcore. I suppose the bigger question is whether deathcore is worth saving. Once again, the obvious answer is no, and there’s no greater supporting argument to this than genre’s supported saviours. The Common Man's Collapse is the band’s second full length, and it’s about as calculated as you can get. This is not a compliment.
To say Veil of Maya is contrived would be a gross understatement; you could argue that the name isn’t lifted from the famed Cynic song, but I refuse to believe this bro-tastic foursome are particularly enamoured by the wondrous world of transcendentalism. No, it’s more than obvious that the band is cashing in on familiarity, something they execute to a tee throughout their chug-plagued sophomoric full-length.
It’s hard, if a little redundant, to go over each song on an album so clearly referential. “Pillars” introduces listeners to the band’s shameless musical paraphrasing with its blatant Meshuggah copy-catting, something that carries throughout the album and is once again shoved in our face with the woefully unnecessary interlude “Wounds”. Of course it’d be immature to imagine Meshuggah-chug as the dominant force on a deathcore album, and the constantly tepid guitar-runs and flashes of the “Gothenburg” sound remind us of this. Structurally speaking, this is deathcore by numbers, and its music, not math, we’re concerned with.
Veil of Maya isn’t re-inventing the wheel and I seriously doubt that’s the point anyways, but on an album so blatantly unoriginal execution becomes the focus and the fact remains that the majority of The Common Man’s Collapse just isn’t well executed. While it’s obvious that The Common Man’s Collapse is geared for a live audience, that doesn’t excuse the fact that nearly every song on the album feels half-finished. It’s as if they wrote a bunch of minute and a half songs and decided that was enough to get the juices flowing for two minutes of incessant chugging. “Sever the Voices” may spread the chugging and breakdowns around its post-hardcore bordering bridges, but the issue still remains. Worse is “We Bow in its Aura”, a track that threatens to be excellent with its arsenal of abrupt and unique leads but ends up succumbing to mindless chugging about a minute and a half in.
Vocally, The Common Man's Collapse is mostly limited to a monotonous low growl that’s uninteresting enough for it to be familiar but not good enough to make you care. Occasional high screams are thrown in more to appease a formula than serve a beneficial purpose to the music. There’s also one instance of a burp-like growl that sounds as if the vocalist is suffering from lock-jaw and a hole in the throat. It’s more hilarious than it is menacing. The guitar work is proficiently uninteresting with a contrived variety of runs, chugs and dissonant-shuggaisms. Bass is of course mostly inaudible and the drummer, seemingly the most naturally talented member of the band, holds back pretty much the entire time.
While I won’t say The Common Man’s Collapse is without its strengths, saying that this album is a chore to listen to from start to finish is a gross understatement considering there isn’t a single song that’s good enough to sit through in its entirety. At best, you’re left with a 33 minute album full of half-finished songs. Breakdowns are thrown in multiple times a track as necessities and do more harm than good, making a potentially enjoyable album a forgettable mess. The Common Man's Collapse is an inexperienced band going through the motions before their 15 minutes are up. If these guys are the saviours of deathcore, I’m guessing it’s a lost-cause.