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Unadulterated slab of intricate metal - 88%

GuardAwakening, October 3rd, 2012

Veil of Maya is a mysterious band in some ways yet a band you can also feel very close to in another sense. Each of its four members kind of have their own look, their own personality and differences and treat their fans as if they're real friends. Their lyrics are intentionally not written deeply to give the listener their own meaning to each song upon hearing and the music itself falls along with not only being heavy but full of passion at the same time. On this record, we see the band drop a guitarist (four piece from here on out unlike their debut record) and acquire a new vocalist; Brandon Butler. It is as well their first to be released through Sumerian Records.

Now compared to the rest of the Veil of Maya collection in comparison to this record is we have a much more experimental sound. I guess it was just them leaving behind their original basis that they did on All Things Set Aside and trying something new, yet didn't take until [id] to finally unlock that potential and ear for themselves. However, this album actually does well with their experimentations because it leaves fans with a Veil of Maya record in a state of musical style that we may never hear again. Now let's get onto actually talking about the music: the album is packed with the whole basis for deathcore, you know; combining good ol' metalcore with shredding death metal and that's exactly what you're getting here in a non-tedious fashion. Okubo's playing style on here is typically much slower than the rest you'd hear from most of Veil of Maya, but he unleashes a bit more metalcore melodies and not as much hints at the whole palm muted "djent" trend that has been in lately. You do hear some djent every now and then, but never insists upon itself as if this band is dying to be the next Meshuggah clone. As for the band's drummer, he also has some interesting techniques you hear on here that you don't hear on other records. While he does keep with the usual blast beat he unleashes during the right moments on a typical Veil of Maya song, on this record he uses a wood block on a few of this album's songs (most notably "It's Not Safe to Swim Today" and "Sever the Voices") giving these songs a very unique sound during their quiet moments.

Butler's vocals are much more hoarse and powerful than Veil of Maya's previous lead vocalist, Adam Clemans and for every good reason imaginable. Clemans was just an okay singer, he was not terrible but not exactly very good either. Butler uses the false chord screaming style while Clemans uses the fry scream technique which is pretty much the entire explanation of why Butler's vocals are superior. Speaking of the first album, this record on the other hand includes two re-recorded songs from the 2006 (and totally out of print) debut All Thing's Set Aside and surprisingly they come off really well even with one guitarist and especially vocal wise. "Entry Level Exit Wounds" has a few of its lyrics changed, but still retains its theme as an excruciatingly sad tale of a heroin-addicted mother. As for the other re-recorded track "Sever the Voices", I in some cases, prefer the original version of that song more only because Okubo's riffs and Applebaum's blast beats sounded much sweeter over the colder production.

If I would have any complaints about this album, however it would mainly be small things such as how those boring middle parts of the records were you're just starting to get the feeling in your throat like "this is okay" drag out to long in some cases and it's mainly due upon the band's more experimental style that they had during the time of this record. But this album definitely does not get as boring as a usual Sumerian metal album would be so within mid-listening. Regardless, this record is very good, the melodic moments take you by the heart strings, the heavy parts are headbang worthy and the band's breakdowns are never overdone and no two every sound the same. More deathcore should really take a look into how Veil of Maya do things and the fact that they're doing it this well just as a four piece is pretty much a "in your face" to every other band in the genre.