Veil Of Maya
Matriarch
(Sumerian Records)

Ready for a lesson in geekology? Technically, musically, and recreationally, Veil Of Maya are here to help. With their latest release the band decided to take the listener on a fantastical journey through nerdom as every track on their album is inspired by a strong female character from anime/manga or fantasy worlds, hence the title Matrirach. Along with this pro-feminine LP comes the surprising genre switch from deathcore to metalcore as the addition of Lukas Magyar leads to a record filled with clean vocals and slightly less technical, yet highly catchy riffs.

Matriarch, the band’s fourth full-length release through Sumerian Records, really lets the technical musicianship Veil Of Maya is known for shine through without too much production overpowering it. Marc Okubo, the band’s only guitarist, carries the album as his playing is unquestionably well executed, though not quite as complex as on Veil Of Maya’s previous records. On the percussion side, tracks like “Three-Fifty” excel in their sonic levels as they even highlight drummer Sam Applebaum’s ability to jive through his cymbal work.

The catchiest tracks on Matriarch, and also those most unlike Veil Of Maya’s previous discography, are surprisingly the strongest. “Ellie,” presumably named after the main character in the video game and comic series The Last of Us, takes the listener on a sonic journey and even directly connects to the character’s story as Ellie is known to be one of the few survivors from a ferocious spore-spread plague taking hold of her world. The isolated line “But I am alive” sticks out as the strongest and most memorable moment on the entire album.

Matriarch hits hardest within its first half. The single “Mikasa”–named after the lead female from Attack on Titan–holds a highly melodic and almost pop-like chorus abandoning many of Veil Of Maya’s old school deathcore elements. However the track beautifully displays the dynamic within Magyar’s vocals as he hits his uncleans on the heaviest levels and then falls back into his soulful, almost whiningly melodic cleans. “Aeris” (of Final Fantasy VII) and “Lucy” (of Elfen Lied) represent the heavier side of the album in which the songs meld a classic deathcore sound with basic metalcore elements. “Lucy” even holds a hint of a very Spanish guitar inspired bridge.

As the album continues the tracks feel weaker and weaker. While the intro track “Nyu” sets the tone for the more technical aspects hidden throughout the record, everything that follows the interlude “Matriarch” falls flat. “Teleute,” named after Neil Gaiman’s character Death in his Sandman comic book series, fades into redundancy and mirrors all of the tricks the first seven songs held. The same is applicable to the anchor track “Lisbeth,” most likely inspired by the main character from Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. While banking on a very strong backing riff, there’s nothing that this track adds to the album and it feels more like filler than a conclusion.

While Veil Of Maya has received both fan backlash and praise for their change in genre, the quartet did a phenomenal job making this transition with a truly solid metalcore album that very few people expected. After four full-lengths of deathcore, switching genres does feel like an acceptable move for Veil Of Maya to make in order to ensure that they never make the same album twice. (Natasha Van Duser)

Purchase Matriarch here: iTunes | Google Play | Amazon

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