VEIL OF MAYA fans are going to love their latest release, Eclipse. VEIL OF MAYA still sounds like VEIL OF MAYA. They’ve kept their core sound, and their musicianship and creativity has only gotten better from album to album, which is what a band is supposed to do, progress, right? I grew up in Grand Rapids, MI in which I remember VEIL OF MAYA coming around, so I have had the pleasure to see these guys before the Sumerian Records days, and seeing a band back then with the technical chops and unique songwriting ability that they had and still have today, it was a no brainer that these guys were going somewhere.
The brutal album opener of “20/200” reminds me a bit of their song “Unbreakable” from the ID-era. Those chugs feel as if guitarist Marc Akubo is banging his axe like a sledgehammer to the concrete, and the slight off tempo rhythm of the riff combined with the dissonance is quite satisfying for a headbanger like you or I. While it’s just an intro, “20/200” gets you quite pumped for what’s next.
Now moving into the bulk of the album, you’ll still have a good amount of the poly-rhythmic breakdowns that VEIL OF MAYA does so well at pulling off, some very catchy groove that the band has always been able to master, but when you’re listening to the more technical moments on Eclipse, from both an epic and structural standpoint, VEIL OF MAYA has really raised the bar for technical deathcore songwriting in general, just like them and Born Of Osiris seem to do each time they release a new album. Let this be the new blueprint for all of the countless imitators out there who think they’re complex for bending a djent. For example, track 3 “Punisher” is a truly punishing track with some excellent tech riffs mixed within the chugging parade which is out of control like a bull in the china shop. Akubo does a great job at giving the listener the maximum headbang, and on the flipside of that coin, he paints some excellent colors and textures on the melodic side of things. Add a little djent flavor, and “Punisher” is easily one of the best songs VEIL OF MAYA has ever written.
And just to mix things up, how about the tempo shift into full speed with “Enter My Dreams”? This will be your closest to a death metal onslaught as you’ll get on Eclipse, at least in the intro. “Enter My Dreams” is all over the place, as the next second you’ll be in a spacey atmosphere with slowed down prog bursts ala The Faceless, and then the next second VEIL OF MAYA is back on the racetrack, passing Michael Johnson on a sprint to the finish. Their stop and go antics are flawless, it’s almost like their combining these crazy ass dreams into one concise song.
“Numerical Scheme” is a straight forward banger I quite enjoyed, and I know already that’ll be a fun one to play at full volume. Drummer Sam Applebaum’s precision is extremely tight with excellent double bass drum accents, and a mean snare beat you definitely don’t want to put your fingers inbetween. The guitar work in “Numerical Scheme” slays, and with the aid of the eerie synth in the background, you’d almost feel like you’re on another planet headbanging alongside some aliens. Earth, I’ll be back in 10!
The last 2 songs, the “Eclipse” and “With Passion And Power” pairing, is a good way to close out Eclipse with a bang. The title track, “Eclipse”, is probably one of the most heartfelt songs I’ve heard out of VEIL OF MAYA, and while one might only label it an interlude, the beauty and aesthetics of the guitar tones should bring it home for you. Taking away all that was nice and pretty from the title track “Eclipse”, next up, the Brian Wilson (SF Giants, duh!) closer “With Passion And Power” steps up to the mound. Talk about an epic song - Akubo’s guitar onslaught is filled with neckbreaking brutality, tons of memorable melody, and it almost feels like VEIL OF MAYA are suggesting of a higher place above. And while this concludes my review of Eclipse, the closing of “With Passion And Power” was so well done that the closing riff is going to be stuck in my head for at least another hour or 2.
I absolutely loved their last studio album ID - blaring out “Dark Passenger” or “Circle” in my car was totally fun, and I kept thinking to myself: this album is so good, I wonder how are they going to top that?? Well, Eclipse is without a doubt the strongest I’ve heard VEIL OF MAYA thus far. I guess my thought process starts all over again. Like I mentioned before, VEIL OF MAYA still distinctly sounds like VEIL OF MAYA, but their musicianship and creativity this time has risen to tenfold. Akubo proves to still be one of my favorite guitarists of today. I’m sick of the millions of sound-a-like bands out there, so it’s good that VEIL OF MAYA has come back to let everyone know who’s boss. VEIL OF MAYA’s latest, Eclipse, is out now via Sumerian Records, and I highly recommend taking a trip with some friends to the local record store and picking this badboy up.