CD Review: VEIL OF MAYA Eclipse
“All they have is just ‘bow-nuh, bow-duh-da-dow, we-dunna-weow-nee-nuh’”
Just from hearing such a sample in “Punisher”, you immediately know that Veil of Maya aren’t pulling any punches. They aren’t reinventing the wheel, turning a new leaf, or getting all experimental on our asses. Instead, Eclipse shows the band recognizing their niche and continuing to refine their craft of combining melodic and off-kilter leads with their now-established polymetric groove style. This album probably isn’t going to win over any of the band’s detractors from years past, but instead offers a much more slick and polished performance than the band’s 2010 album, [id].
The most noticeable change from [id] to Eclipse is undoubtedly the production quality, courtesy of Periphery’s own Misha Mansoor, a fellow Sumerian Records musician. While The Common Man’s Collapse and [id] were both produced by The Faceless’ own Michael Keene, [id]’s production seemed flat; guitars didn’t seem to carry the punch they had in the past, and the drums relied too heavily on 808’s and bass drops. With this new record, Veil of Maya has finally managed to combine the slick nature of their previous release with the more brutal nature of albums past. This also may just be speculation, but even Misha’s riff style shows up in tracks like “Winter Is Coming Soon”.
Don’t get the impression that this is a producer-driven album though. Eclipse, much like other previous Veil of Maya albums, is essentially a contest to see whether guitarist Marc Okubo or drummer Sam Applebaum can grab your attention first. To be blunt, they’re two of the tightest Sumerian musicians around. Only this time, riffs seem much more organized, and songs seem to have a much stronger sense of flow, due to a more traditional song structure in tracks like “Vicious Circles” and “Punisher”. Another huge plus to Eclipse (as well as every other Veil of Maya release) is its brevity. Hell, this album is even shorter than Reign in Blood! Okubo & Co. certainly know how to deliver a concise, yet challenging package of music that warrants multiple replays due to the fact that you can listen to all ten tracks, twice, in under an hour.
Aside from a few minor complaints, Eclipse is a huge improvement from [id] and should please any fan of the band. Sure, the vocals can get a little too layered at times, and the opening riff to “The Glass Slide” sounds way too much like “Mowgli”, but these are only issues that surface after multiple, intent listening sessions. Hell, it certainly stomps anything After the Burial and Born of Osiris have put out. This will inevitably be one of the best Sumerian Records releases of the year.