Review Summary: A decent attempt by a very talented band. Mayan give fine new material, though not as good as their previous
Mayan released their first album, Quarterpast, in 2011, a quite promising and interesting album with new ideas and excellent musicianship. Three years later, their next album, Antagonιse, has finally been released.
I will try to write a track-by-track review. It is my first review so please, write your thoughts and advice so I could improve. Thanks.
DESCRY (Bonus): It's a little generic, starts slowly but with not many to offer, more like a b-side Epica intro. It builds up to a great break, at 1:00. Theν, becomes a little more specific, melody actually exists, it's not that usual classical piece that everyone can hum, while doing stuff. Quite atmospheric and with a nice choir. (3.5/5)
BLOODLINE FORFEIT: Can't say I wasn't disappointed from this song. Starts with a thrashy riff, that repeats itself with little or no change throughout the song, a blast beat and keys somewhere behind, just existing. An interesting though unfulfilling keyboard solo seems like making it better but it stops soon enough to leave us hanging unsatisfied. A guitar solo comes a little afterwards, though it's just a not-what-a-heavy-song-requires one, leading to the ending, which is so abrupt that leaves you waiting for more. A mediocre song that had potentials, though fails to come up to our expectations. (3/5)
BURN YOUR WITCHES: This was the first song that actually caught my eye and stopped me from thinking why these guys didn't work more on their material. Rhythmic changes, heavy guitars, fast pace and awesome drumming. When I first heard the chorus I was sure I didn't like the clean male vocals as much. They seem a little mismatched to Mayan's style, especially when they are used almost only for choruses, that ruins the feeling they are trying so hard to achieve. At the end we can hear some nice female singing and the guitar solo is tremendous and one of the best in the album. (4/5)
REDEMPTION: This is a good example of why I think the clean male vocals are not ideal. The song is nice, with interesting guitar work, insane drumming and great keyboards. But the singer seems to struggle to make his voice appropriate, failing significantly. Mark's grunts seem so much nicer and fit to the whole band's style. Honestly, it reminded me of Bite the bullet, from their previous album, where the vocals spoil an awesome track. The highlight of the song is in the middle, when it slows down and lets an orchestral part take the lead, followed by a great musical sheet, accompanying the clean female vocals. Another unfulfilling keyboard solo, though this time it seems to be only a little less than it should. Overall, the only con of this song seems to be its vocals. (3.5/5)
PALADINS OF DECEIT :It starts with a catchy riff that can't do but catch your attention. Keys play alongside with the guitar making a beautiful atmospheric duo. Perfect grunts and east - like melodies thrown here and there to complete the music. Even the clean vocals seem less annoying, being on perfect balance with the rest of the song, while it has some haunting operatic female vocals too. The band seems like a well functioning machine giving its best. One great song that manages to clear all doubts concerning their abilities. They are excellent musicians and know how to show it. (4/5)
LONE WOLF: What seems to be a slow paced song suddenly becomes aggressive. Grunts subside giving more space for clean vocals. It's a well made song, with the presence of keys more obvious throughout. However, it lacks originality. The more it progresses, the more I think of it as another nice but rather unmemorable song. At least it has a better keyboard solo. (3/5)
DEVIL IN DISGUISE: The best riff off the album so far. Melodies change, rhythms change, notes fly off the window. It seems to be the best song so far. Mark should be on the mic, but enough with the vocals already. I've expressed my opinion and it's not going to change significantly. As comes to the song, it's insane and unpredictable. It manages to surpass all previous tracks with flying colors, a personal favorite. (4.5/5)
INSANO: An acoustic track with little violin in the background, with ethereal female vocals in Italian. It's a relaxing sad song that aims to refresh the listener for the rest of the album. (3.5/5)
HUMAN SACRIFICE: It starts so furiously and unexpectedly making a huge contrast compared to the previous track. For the first two minutes it's that up-tempo and rough that seems like a mid-era Dimmu Borgir song. Then it becomes more and more better with operatic female vocals and superb melodic and rhythmic parts. Another over the top track. (4.5/5)
ENEMIES OF FREEDOM: Mark Janssen seems to have a certain approach when it comes to lyrical themes. War, religion, government, terrorists and those who pull strings. The biggest disadvantage of this song is just that, the lyrics. They talk about the same things over and over and over again. It wouldn't be so annoying, if it wasn't for random politician's speeches about supporting or not the use of guns. They try to approach the matter objectively even if it's obvious which side they finally support. The rest of the song is really good, outstanding female vocals again and haunting atmospheric parts. (3/5)
CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: Finally a song with a less blasting start and more melody into it. The rhythmic parts work perfectly with the atmosphere that keyboards create. Elements of progressive metal can be found throughout. Great job done in this one by all aspects. Not much to say, it is a simply awesome track. (4/5)
FACELESS SPIES: Thus we come to the last song of the album. It is their biggest song, a massive titan with lots of surprises. Guitars work more on their own than just contributing to the whole sound. It starts with a slow solo that builds up suddenly. A great piano section with playful note, aggressive verses and brutal vocals! It has fulfilling musical parts creating a wall of sound that can compliment all the types of vocals that are used. What's more, as the song reaches the end, we have a violin part of such beauty and perfection, that deletes every bad impression that has been made. If there's something to be said, that's the use of Epica's song names in the chorus as lyrics (Run for a Fall, Living a Lie) in a naive way that could have been done better. (4.5/5)
Antagonise achieves to continue the legacy of its predecessor, besides some blunt moments and mistakes. It's an overall great album that has a lot to give, especially to Mayan's die-hard fans, whoever they might be. What's for sure is that their next work should be a step forward and they should try to avoid repeating themselves. And even if Antagonise cannot actually antagonize (pun half intended) their previous, Quarterpast, it's just a few steps behind.