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Album Reviews : Veil of Maya – False Idol

By on November 7, 2017

Wow, this band have really spread their wings, musically and songwriting-wise. Beginning their career as a band that wrote raw, short, brutish prog/djent metal tunes (which are absolutely enjoyable in their own right, and as a fan of theirs I would have been more than happy for them to continue in this vein. The fact that they are growing and evolving is even better.), with all-dirty vocals, they have morphed into a full-blown prog-metal act whose songs take you on a dynamic journey, rather than smashing you violently around the head for two to three minutes and then getting the hell out.

This process of evolution began on their previous album Matriarch, and comes to full fruition on this, their sixth album. Fans of the earlier stuff need not be concerned, this band still knows how to write a technical riff, a warped, slamming groove and how to hit hard. This band remain a very heavy band at their core, they have just added a whole range of new weapons to their already impressive arsenal. The most obvious, and no doubt the most controversial, is their newfound melody. Veil of Maya have discovered that they know how to write a soaring chorus, and they are all the better for it. Heaviness and technicality gets you in your gut, while melody makes a song memorable. Combine the two and you are onto a true winner.

This new evolution can probably be experienced to best effect on a track like Manichee, which, while its more melodic heart will probably irritate some of their hardcore fans, ultimately it’s just a great song, and that’s all that really matters. There is still plenty of blistering, manic metal elsewhere on the record.

Another new arrow they have added to their deadly bow is a willingness and ability to create soundscapes within their songs, which adds even more interest, variety and dynamism to the sound. Check out the swooning ambience created by the voice and instrumentation during the middle section of Doublespeak. And, in true VoM style, they give it briefly and then just as quickly take it away.

It is way too easy to sit on your elitist high-horse after one perfunctory listen and default to mindlessly howling “I hate clean vocals so I don’t like this”. If this is your mindset, you are depriving yourself of ridiculous amounts of musical pleasure, and this album is a prime example. False Idol is everything you could want in a heavy progressive release, it is brutally heavy where it needs to be, it displays illustrious instrumental, technical and songrwriting chops and it is triumphantly melodic where appropriate, making it stick in your mind for long moments afterwards, and I would rate it among the best albums of 2017.

Band: Veil of Maya
Album: False Idol
Year: 2017
Genre: Progressive Metal
Label:  Sumerian
Origin: USA

About

Rod Whitfield is a Melbourne-based writer and retired musician who has been writing about music since 1995. He has worked for Team Rock, Beat Magazine, themusic.com.au, Heavy Mag, Mixdown, The Metal Forge, Metal Obsession and many others. He has written and published his memoirs of his life and times in the music biz, and also writes books, screenplays, short stories, blogs and more.