Review Summary: Heavy goodness.
It’s not easy moving on without your vocalist. The forefront of most musical endeavours, it can be hard to find a replacement that suffices with both the music and the fanbase. Of course, Veil of Maya finds that idea completely irrelevant. Picking up former Arms of Empire vocalist Lukas Magyar for 2015’s Matriarch
, their foray into a slightly more streamlined sound resulted in one of their most focused releases yet, for better or for worse. And False Idol
continues in the same vein, but tightens the loose ends from their previous outing and hits hard, resulting in a listen that showcases a band more than content with their sound than ever.
Despite its revitalised sound, Matriarch
was a bit too by-the-numbers; a safe release that looked to incorporate new ideas without sounding too jarring to the listener. False Idol
, on the other hand, finds the quartet looking to solidify their newfound sound with a far more focused approach. Magyar’s range as both a harsh and clean vocalist is admirable, and really sells the further incorporation of streamlined songwriting; though his hooks still don’t grab as much as their contemporaries, his capabilities far outweigh the negatives brought forth by this. ‘Whistleblower’ has a rather lacklustre hook, but his harsh sections really sell the heavy-soft dynamic of the track. What sells his vocals best, however, are the heavier tracks. ‘Follow Me’ is by far the heaviest track here, and doesn’t waste its opportunity to shine. It weaves between blast beats and short electronic interludes with ease, carried by another throaty performance from Lukas.
What Veil of Maya does best, however, is incorporate that prog-djent goodness into their sound, and here it’s no different. Although it does at times border on Periphery worship, it does just enough to separate itself from the aforementioned and be a memorable beast in its own right. Guitarist Marc Okubo continues to prove his prowess at creating riffs that are both technically mesmerising and equally crushing, and bassist Danny Hauser creates the perfect backbone for his capabilities to be on full display. Both ‘Livestream’ and the aforementioned ‘Follow Me’ riff hard without sounding pretentious, and continues to add the flair to the Veil of Maya sound. Drummer Sam Applebaum is no slouch either; he knows when and where to let loose, and when he does, such as on ‘Fracture’, it adds some nice meat to the tracks, though it does beckon as to why he isn’t allowed the freedom to go wild as frequently as he could be.
What shortcomings present themselves on False Idol
are quickly forgotten by the time they pass by due to the nature of the album just being heavy fun. The more streamlined approach to songwriting is a welcome addition, allowing tracks to sound far more complete without overstaying their welcome. Instrumentation and vocals come together brilliantly throughout, and although the album can begin to drag due to the 45-minute runtime, the nature of the album allows this to be more of a blessing than a cure; these songs shred, and you should shred with them.
Recommended Tracks: Fracture, Pool Spray, Follow Me