Veil of Maya
Matriarch


3.5
great

Review

by paradox1216 EMERITUS
May 12th, 2015 | 506 replies


Release Date: 05/12/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Veil of Maya sacrifice some of their original melodic identity to bring us a catchy yet derivative metalcore album with a few growing pains attached.

When Chicago based progressive deathcore band Veil of Maya released Eclipse in 2012, it was the subject of one of my earliest music reviews, written for my school newspaper. I mention that because of the superficial similarities between us – both of us were more mature and more refined, ready to apply our newfound clarity to create something beautiful. We both didn’t quite get there, though – my music reviews were average at best (some would argue they aren’t much better now), and Eclipse featured an improved structure but sometimes the riffs just weren’t all there. Three years after the fact, another comparison between us can be drawn: the sheer amount of change we’ve gone through. However, while most people could look at me and see the same face, you’d be hard-pressed to hear a track off of Veil’s new album Matriarch and immediately recognize them as the same band. Not only has their sound undergone a massive metamorphosis, their vocalist has changed too, with his screams being higher-pitched. But the differences in his screams is nothing compared to the most important paradigm shift we’re offered: the addition of clean singing, something most people thought Veil of Maya would never introduce. Do all of these changes bring the band down, or has it allowed them to transcend the boundaries they had set before"

The band has always had melodic riffs and passages, but almost never had entire songs based around melodic ideas. One listen to “Aeris”, “Ellie”, or “Three-Fifty” will demonstrate just how far the vibe has taken them, with the new vocalist Lukas using his incredible singing voice through a majority of each of the songs. Most traditional death metal bands who use singing keep it subdued, with examples being Cynic’s soft vocoder/autotune and Feat Factory’s croony approach. It seems as if bands on the metalcore end of the spectrum have no such reservations - the closest vocalist I could compare Lukas to would be the explosive and soulful Jonny Craig from Dance Gavin Dance. If that sounds absolutely nuts, keep in mind that a lot of modern metalcore bands employ singers who use that style as well. They just usually lack the talent or insight needed to pull it off. The band’s sound has changed to suit the singing accordingly, and the songs I mentioned showcase his talents perfectly.

There’s plenty of songs that harken back to the older sound though. “Phoenix”, the earliest track released from the album, sounds like the older songs, albeit with no random stops for breakdowns and a bouncy feel instead of a blastbeat-filled death metal one. Opener “Nyu” is the first instance where Veil of Maya has started an album with a full song instead of a special breakdown that gets a track all to itself, but it’s so groovy and chug-filled that you won’t notice until the screaming kicks in. “Leeloo” and “Teleute” are also both more typical of the group, although a breakdown near the end of the latter track features some well-placed background singing that suits the moment well. Closer “Lisbeth” is probably the best use of the new approach yet: heavy, creative, melodic, and features a stunning chorus with huge vocals from Lukas. It works the old vibes into its riffs, so it sounds like a natural blend.

The most disappointing thing about Matriarch stems from its near abandonment of their unique sound. If you were to play someone a Veil of Maya song from a past album, when the melodies kicked in you could usually tell exactly who the artist was – and that’s somewhat rare for metalcore bands. The guitar melodies in use here are also used by tons of other bands, and although Veil uses them well here, they don’t blend them with their own signature melodic stylings often enough to remain interesting all of the time. Eclipse showed a band that was maturing and getting closer to achieving a truly great version of a sound they had been advancing for years. Matriarch drags enough of that sound to the sidelines to be disappointing in that respect

It’s good to focus on what we do have, though: Matriarch is a more-than-competent album that takes the structural maturity Veil of Maya has been establishing over the years, outfits it with a largely new sound focused on melody and beauty, decorates it with powerful screams and gorgeous clean singing, and coats it with a fresh layer of breakdowns and grooves. Despite the fact that it borrows some of its melodic ideas from other contemporary bands, the sound it yields is still unique. I expect the album to be verbally destroyed by metal purists and some disappointed fans, but listening a few times with an open mind may yield something more than just hatred. It may yield…fun.



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user ratings (410)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
cmaitland421 (3)
A new vocalist and refocused sound nets mixed results for Veil of Maya on "Matriarch"...

peartnoy (3.5)
Rebuilding with a solid foundation....

Kascade (4)
A solid album with a re-birth in sound....

chriskrispy (2.5)
Veil of Maya swap their uniquely technical sounds for a much simpler product, which may welcome some...



Comments:Add a Comment 
zaruyache
May 11th 2015


18089 Comments


stream link

http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/6561196/veil-of-maya-new-album-matriarch-premiere

paradox1216
Emeritus
May 11th 2015


730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album is streaming here: http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/6561196/veil-of-maya-new-album-matriarch-premiere



EDIT: got ninja'd on the link, nice job Sput for saving me haha



I wasn't reallly too hot on this before but it was fun enough to work my way up to actually liking a decent amount. If this is the way Veil has to go, then I guess I'm with them.

Toondude10
May 11th 2015


11718 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

another day, another shitty deathcore band.



and I thought Common Man's Collapse and [id] were pretty good. Good review though.

Digging: Machine Head - The Blackening

Gestapo
May 11th 2015


1304 Comments


so wise

paradox1216
Emeritus
May 11th 2015


730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

some people call TCMC a classic and it has some amazing riffs but I just can't get into the structure. I heard someone call it "riff salad" recently, which is almost accurate. "riff and breakdown salad" is closer haha

Toondude10
May 11th 2015


11718 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

yeah this is pretty fucking terrible. all I'm getting out of this spells "Periphery ripoff, but with breakdowns"

Toondude10
May 11th 2015


11718 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Common Man's Collapse wasn't a classic by any means, but it had some really neat songs and "Not Safe To Swim Today" is a real jam. [id] was more or less standard and not as memorable but a few good songs nonetheless.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
May 11th 2015


10195 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

"their vocalist has changed too, with his screams being higher-pitched."



eh that kinda says too little. Bit of an understatement when you think about how much different he really is. Higher pitched screams are kind of the least of the changes.



Good review otherwise, though I kinda skimmed half heartedly I will admit. Judging by Mikasa I would argue that it still sounds like VoM but I haven't heard the rest of the album so whatever

Nocturnalize
May 11th 2015


2463 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That summary sucks so hard



Album brings the meh imo

paradox1216
Emeritus
May 11th 2015


730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@game of metal In the first paragraph I mention literally right after the phrase you bring up how the change in pitch is nothing compared to the clean singing that Lukas brings us. Maybe I should be clearer that I'm still talking about Lukas?



EDIT: welp, I skimmed your comment so I didn't realize that you were talking about skimming my review. No wonder you didn't see the part where I actually talked about the important stuff haha

Toondude10
May 11th 2015


11718 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

yeah I agree about that summary, change it plz.

paradox1216
Emeritus
May 11th 2015


730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

finne, I didn't know bad jokes offended so many people lol

Toondude10
May 11th 2015


11718 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

I've found out that you kinda have to be subtle and more clever when putting humor in your reviews, otherwise it makes you look childish.



much better btw

AnimalsAsSummit
May 11th 2015


2990 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

rip VoM forever

Toondude10
May 11th 2015


11718 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

[2]



I don't know why everyone hated on Brandon so much, (even though the averages say otherwise) I though he was fine.

paradox1216
Emeritus
May 11th 2015


730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Brandon was fine and really fun live too, as is this whole band. Lukas is a wonderful replacement in every way though (in a studio enviroment; I haven't seen any live videos with him yet)



Oh, by the way for anyone interested, the album is actually out now in the Eastern Time Zone (which would be all of the US iTunes). yayz

paradox1216
Emeritus
May 12th 2015


730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm flipping through the lyric booklet right now and I think one of the coolest aspects is that they didn't just name the songs after the girls for fun - all of the songs are blatantly about the girls in question. They're not the best lyrics in the world - mostly kinda boring really - but I like that they put the effort into that, it's cool. Like that the GoT song on Eclipse was actually about GoT. It's better than the trend of just making things references and not following up on it.

Launch
May 12th 2015


28 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Teleute and Lucy are the only songs on here that even remotely sound like VoM in my opinion, unless you include the chug chug chug songs (Phoenix, Leeloo) as anything beyond a collection of noises. Super disappointed in this album, Marc and Sam have some flashes of brilliance as always, but it's really not enough to carry

joshuahuntkc
May 12th 2015


1866 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't think any of the songs on the album actually surpassed Mikasa which is disappointing. Mikasa is such a great blend of the old and the new. Aside from the straightforward structure I was hoping the rest of the album would be similar.



I hoped this would grow on me after the first few listens but it has not

TooManyFriends
May 12th 2015


2539 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i like this more than the last couple but i'm trying to figure out if that's because they actually got better at songwriting or if the melodies are just catchier this time



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