The Sumerian giants Veil of Maya have come roaring through the gates with their sixth album, False Idol. False Idol was released on 20th October through Sumerian Records, and in the last couple of days it has reached #17 in the American iTunes Charts, and #13 in Australia. Since their formation in Chicago in 2004, Veil of Maya have been bending genres and turning heads with their burgeoning but melodic sound. Arising from the wreckage of the melodic Death Metal band Insurrection, lead guitarist Marc Okubo and drummer Sam Applebaum have endured through numerous line-up changes, as well as a huge evolution in sound. Beginning as a six-piece, Veil of Maya have now settled on functioning as a four-piece, with bassist Danny Hauser joining the band in 2010 and vocalist Lukas Magyar replacing Brandon Butler in 2015.
Veil of Maya chose to record in Los Angeles, but instead of recording together in one studio, Marc Okubo worked with producer Max Schad while Lukas Magyar worked with vocal producer Brandon Paddock in a separate studio. This unorthodox approach has definitely worked for them, bringing a new level of musical technicality and intensity. False Idol is a step up from their 2015 release Matriarch, showcasing a well structured ensemble of who they were, are and will be. This album makes you wonder just what they will do next, and brings a new excitement and love for such a stellar group. Their clean vocals are here to stay and Lukas Magyar has only gotten better, having found the perfect balance of emotive singing and face-melting screaming. Sam Applebaum continues to blow our minds with fast and inventive beats, made complete by the combined crushing power of Okubo’s off the wall guitar prowess and Hauser’s solid and unforgiving basslines.
This album carries a dark theme, reflected by lyrics that paint a desolate landscape for the listener. Each song is rollercoaster ride of brutal riffs harking back to their old Deathcore sounds of their 2012 release Eclipse, while still leaving room to give us a glimpse of how they are growing and maturing as a band. There are so many songs that stand out and it is almost impossible to get bored or lose focus for the duration of this album, something to be considered a hard feat musically. That being said, several tracks really shined above the rest, spurring me to rate this album 85/100.
Getting the party started after the odd little intro called ‘Lull’ is ‘Fracture,’ wasting no time in kicking your ribs in with giant, palm-muted riffs backed by a sharp snare-heavy beat and well-executed screams. The chorus breaks into a more emotional feeling, before winding back up to Djent-esque breakdowns that will galvanise any crowd into a writhing pit. ‘Fracture’ feels like a perfect starting point, opening the door and giving us a good idea of what we’re in for.
Delivering a more reserved type of energy is ‘Doublespeak,’ an interesting reference to George Orwell‘s 1984. The lyrics speak of betrayal and revenge, incorporating a surprisingly upbeat chorus to contrast the lyrics, “tTrning your back on the bond we’ve made / you’ve dug your own grave / and now your terror is mine to shape / I’ll watch you die afraid.” ‘Doublespeak’ packs a decent punch, but is ultimately shadowed by the following song called ‘Overthrow.’
‘Overthrow’ brings us back to familiar ground, with blast beats and an off-beat riff before elevating into a euphoric chorus. The breakdown is unbelievably solid, led to a crescendo by an impressively drawn out scream courtesy of Lukas Magyar. This song is even parts heavy and delicate, giving a wide scope of their far-reaching sound and endless talent.
‘Whistleblower’ brings a solid Industrial ferocity at the start with a pounding chorus that give way to a softer chorus, which seems to be a prevailing habit in this album. The lyrics, “Now fear me in the afterlife / I will haunt you endlessly,” sends shivers down the spine. This song takes on a noticeable Djent tone, merging seamlessly into their mind-bending riffs and licks.
‘Pool Spray’ is bound to get heads banging and bodies moving, with a deep chuggy riff and intense screaming vocals, even the chorus maintains a fast beat and Okubo’s trademark licks complimenting Magyar’s singing. This song is a shining example of Magyar’s multi-faceted vocal range, his high screams sounding effortless before dropping pitch into a crushing low growl.
‘Graymail’ is a dark, headbangingly brutal piece of work, showing us that Veil of Maya have not forgotten their roots. This is a song that brings violent moshpits to mind, making the listener excited to see this song live in action.
‘Manichee’ brings a change in sound, not nearly as heavy as the previous songs, but instead bringing a more positive message and feeling without sacrificing their core sound. The last minute of the song is almost as though they are brutally reminding the listener of what they are capable of before finishing more in tune with the rest of the song.
‘Citadel’ carries similar overtones to ‘Manichee,’ bringing a softer and more melodic sound to the table in the first minute. The song waxes heavy once more, with the guitar work showing a neat fusion of Metalcore and Djent techniques that beautifully compliment the vocals.
‘Follow Me’ is a huge high-point of the album; just the first 30 seconds alone are heavier than everything else on the album. The only break in the intensity is a brief interval that oddly brings Mario Kart to mind, a nice nod to their propensity for adding pop-culture references to their work. This song boasts the whole shebang: blast beats, soul-rending screams and new levels of violent intensity from the guitars and bass.
The remaining two songs, ‘Tyrant’ and ‘Livestream’ wind the album down well, rounding off what is sure to be one of Veil of Maya’s most critically acclaimed albums. Their change is sound is continuing to grow and develop and they have once again pulled through with an absolute ripper of an album. Keep an eye out for False Idol in stores and online and make sure you give it a listen.