Review Summary: The genre-bending, intelligent sound of alt death.
Despite The Veil
being Black Passage
's introductory release, it doesn't read as a freshman effort. Rather, it feels like the veil has been lifted behind the true effort of each member's past projects. While three of the five members, including Julian (vocals), Kevin (guitar), and Brian (bass), are from Behold The Desecration
, this new project takes a gigantic leap from that structured sound of deathcore into which they had pigeonholed themselves. Robby of Anisoptera
joins as an additional guitarist, and Andrew of Fallujah
completes the group as drummer. Both hail from death metal bands as well, so the outcome should be obvious, right?
Instead, the result is very unique, and genre-bending. Their musical style ranges from Deftones
-esque alternative metal, to the heavy death metal flavor of the group's collective experiences. The initial sound of The Veil
may begin as confusing, but the songs are immediately accessible. The melodies and riffs are catchy to the point where it's easy to hum along. “Tables Turn,” is a downright sing-along classic. Julian's clean vocals are grungy but soft, a distinct contrast to his brutal, guttural deathcore screams. Intelligent guitar riffs mix with slamming chugs, but it never gets out of hand with the technical notes. At no point in time does the band seem to feel the need to fully commit to a specific genre.
With incorporating multiple genres as they have, it wouldn't be unusual to have single tracks dedicated to one genre, or for the band to direct itself back and forth to accomplish varying sounds. The Veil
, however, doesn't force itself anywhere. Black Passage
simply allows their album to expand organically in and out of any territory. Contrasting intensity is commonplace on the album but feels necessary at every occurrence. For example, during the beginning of their titular track, “The Veil,” the listener is lulled into a sense of peace by means of light, slow instrumentals and soft, echoing singing, until the song abruptly reintroduces its brutal death screams. The moment is not necessarily jarring, especially on repeated listens, and begins to feel like the obvious progression of the song. Later, Julian whips out his single use of blackened-style screams during the last half of, “The Broken Hand,” which, in context with the song, surprisingly feels heavier than his brutal screams. It works flawlessly to create what I consider the apex of the album.
Despite being so full of ambition, The Veil
doesn't reek of pretentiousness. With their no-nonsense attitude in their riff choices, and lyrics like, “You think that I want to really know? What's done is done,” I'm left with the impression that they've given up on trying to be anything in particular, and the Black Passage
project has given them the opportunity to play what comes naturally. The talent in each member is evident, yet no one steps to the forefront in a way that would distract from, instead of enhance, the album. What this accomplishes is songwriting that reads as very polished, and feels perfectly arranged. This maturity they've exposed for us is something expected from a band that has been developing a sound for years, not a hodgepodge of independently talented individuals trying something new.
This unforeseen treasure Black Passage
has delivered to us has made me excited to hear what comes next. Have they created gold by fluke, or do they have this alchemical formula written down somewhere, capable of giving us more? From a group capable of such growth and experimental prowess, the future is uncertain, but the potential is abundant.
Genre: Progressive Deathcore
Trve Rating: 4.7/5