The technical deathcore band Veil of Maya has been blowing people away since their 2008 release of The Common Man’s Collapse. I’ve always liked them, but I’ve never been BLOWN AWAY by their music. I was, though, quite impressed when I saw that their bassist was playing a 7-string bass guitar at the 2010 Summer Slaughter Tour. As far as keeping up with them, I haven’t really gone any further than getting their new releases a week or two after their release. I was made an offer by someone at Sumerian Records to be one of the reviewers for their upcoming release, Eclipse. Hey, it’s a free promo copy and I get to hear it before anyone else, why the hell not? Almost a week after receiving it, I can now say that Veil of Maya has successfully blown me away. They made tons of huge changes in their overall sound with [id], but instead of taking the sound from that album and adding some stuff on top of it, they decided to go ahead and create something completely new yet again! The best way to sum this up is that it’s deathcore with more death and less core.
The intro track is fairly predictable and has been done by so many other deathcore groups like Chelsea Grin, Bleed from Within, As Blood Runs Black, Murder the Frail, and others have done countless time. The intro track is pretty much just a really fancy breakdown that blends into the next song. This isn’t a total downer because it sounds cool, but I would expect something a little more out of a band with as much status as Veil of Maya. Here’s the thing that caught me by surprise: the first full song doesn’t sound ANYTHING like the Veil of Maya I’ve known since middle school! Where the hell are all of the constant fancy technical breakdowns? This is probably one of the best deathcore albums I’ve heard in my life! I love deathcore albums that AREN’T constant breakdown after breakdown after FUCKING BREAKDOWN!!
Those of you that hate the deathcore genre for that very reason, THIS IS AN ALBUM YOU NEED TO HEAR! Every single musician in this band have improved a thousand times since [id]. I guess they were really trying to expand their creative abilities with [id], and then used Eclipse to expand and improve their technical and instrumental skills, which means that I’m going to have EXTREMELY high expectations when they release their next album two years from now. I’m going to list off basically how each musician has improved over the past two years. The vocalist hasn’t really been the best growler or screamer out there, until now. His growls are extremely powerful and deep (something that was lacking majorly in [id]). His screams sound much more developed and professional in Eclipse than the screams in Common Man’s Collapse and [id], which sounded strained and weak at times. So a huge improvement on the vocalist’s part has really enhanced the listening experience.
The drummer is probably the one that has improved the most out of the whole band. Not in the area of his technical skills, but more so in the areas of the different styles that he can play. Before, it seemed that all he knew how to do was really complex kick drum work while hitting the high-hat on the down beats and the snare in random places. Now, you see him playing flawless blast beats, driving rock-based beats, and just outright creative shit that I’ve never heard before! He also seems to have more involvement in the music than before, where the guitars were the center of attention. That’s another thing I just realized! The focus isn’t on one specific member! The WHOLE BAND is under the spotlight the WHOLE TIME.
The guitarists sound much more together, which sounds better than in [id], where they sounded like they were each playing something completely different; which got really confusing sometimes. Although those extremely abstract guitar sounds are just what I need at certain times, but I get so much more enjoyment with what they have done here. The bass is weird on this album. It’s one of those things where you can hear what notes the bassist is playing, but only on the really low end that can be heard with a subwoofer. So on top of each individual musician improving, the overall songwriting and song structure is literally a thousand times more organized than ever before.
If you’re asking me for any certain highlights on the album, I would say that Vicious Circles is DEFINITELY the best song on the album. It’s one of those things where that’s the first song I go to when I turn on this album. Fortunately, Veil of Maya doesn’t leave you COMPLETELY in the dust; they bring back memories of their older sound with Punisher, an extremely heavy and complex song. Other than that, the songs have A LOT of blast beat drumming and much fewer breakdowns to show that they are out of the in-crowd and that they can progress from what they’ve been doing almost their entire career. I know it may seem like I’ve been giving a lot of high ratings lately, but that’s just because I’m in a mood to show the world some of the good music that they’ve been missing. I would give this 19/20.