Review Summary: If you think you've heard everything in music and haven't heard The Mayan Factor, think again.
The Mayan Factor are an extremely unique find in contemporary rock. As a modern progressive group, The Mayan Factor cannot be defined by the sludgy-prog of Karnivool, the metal and psychedelic induced sound of Porcupine Tree, or the spastic fire of the Mars Volta. The Mayan Factor offer quite a disparity in the genre; their earthy and open sound is something that can hardly be discovered in other groups throughout progressive rock. Those of you familiar with Thrice’s “Alchemy Index’s” would discover a great deal of similarities in the resonance of the “Earth” disc and The Mayan Factor’s debut “In Lake’ Ch.” The band utilizes acoustic guitars and other tribal sounds to create the ambient feel, but doesn’t lack in the intensity department. In fact, despite the fact that electric guitars are hard to come by in The Mayan Factor’s music, the band still rocks.
To more fully explain the sound of The Mayan Factor, close your eyes and picture a deserted plain with a campfire. The mysterious acoustic riff of opener Warflower
fades in and the fire builds in intensity as the song progresses. Its tribal ambience seems to fit the situation, almost in a literal sense, and lead singer Ray-Ray reluctantly exclaims, “On my way to the classroom, lit the fire, it's a burning desire, murder, water is needed.” Ray-Ray’s vocals a versatile in several different ways, and most importantly contain a great deal of tension that complement the music so eloquently. The example of Warflower
with the campfire may appear a bit too literal, but purely reflects what The Mayan Factor’s music is all about.
Ray-Ray’s clean and distinct vocals are a defining characteristic in the band’s music. He is often calm and composed, and when the track builds in force, he threatens to lash out. However, despite what is expected, Ray-Ray rarely does. With that said, emotion does not cease to exist in his vocals, Beauty and the Beast
serving as a tremendous example. As one of the more ballad-type tracks on the album, Ray-Ray is very delicate and soothing, but there is a certain sorrow in his voice. The passion is conveyed through his composure as he hints, “Fame never goes your way, pain never goes away, say I’ll be here tomorrow, for today.” His versatility is displayed in the final tracks of the record, in a way in which separates The Mayan Factor from other bands. He raps. In fact, the listener does not discover what the band is all about until midway through the sixth track on the album. Ray-Ray’s rap comes out of nowhere and stuns the listener in Son of Sam – Prophecy
. Just reading this without listening to the record the rapping seems corny, but actually makes the experience all the more interesting. With this particular style, Ray-Ray has actually developed a more aggressive vocal performance, and complements the forceful nature of the track with great precision. The outro of Going to Pieces
serves along the same concept, and is Ray-Ray’s most vigorous performance of the record.
The highlight of the record does not come into play until the final track, and begins with a line from The Doors’ song Riders on the Storm
. Focus – Reborn
is “In Lake’Ch’s” fifteen minute epic track, and is split into two different segments. The “focus” section is dynamically brilliant; building with tension as Ray-Ray raps, and suddenly dying down to just an acoustic interlude. The track is quite innovative, utilizing wind sounds as a dramatic effect. The outro of “focus” is where Ray-Ray loses it for the first time on the record as the track fades to silence. “Reborn” offers a much more sentimental feeling than developed on the rest of the record, but is rather short lived with the rap vocals coming back in with “And everybody get the f*** up.” The tension of the entire album seems to be resolved when the track returns to its calm nature, and fades out with Ray-Ray singing once again.
“In Lake’ Ch” is an outstanding debut for a band that has a great deal of potential. When listening to the record, nothing seems to stand out as spectacular, and many of the tracks blend into each other. The album may suffer from a lack of variety, but is an extremely interesting listening experience. Many may be turned off by the rapping, the fully acoustic sound, or the similarities in each track, but altogether define what The Mayan Factor are. “In Lake’ Ch” is one of those debuts that gives both the fans and the band hope that something magnificent could eventually ignite from it.
Beauty and the Beast
Focus - Reborn