Diversity: A word that, until recently, could rarely be used to describe the modern metal scene. However, with the ever-expanding, ever-changing and ever-growing state of music… bands must find a way to change and adapt. Chicago’s Veil Of Maya have done just that with their most recent album Matriarch. With the addition of new vocalist Lukas Magyar, the band has unlocked a side of themselves that most would dare to even dream. It seemed that VOM were stuck in an endless cycle of chugs, low growls and blast beats. Some may enjoy this type of music and, if you do, more power to you! However, let’s be honest… music like that only has so much replay value at a time. VOM have tapped into the world of metalcore with their most intricate, beautiful release to date and have blown the minds of even the most dedicated “Veil” fan in Matriarch.
I’m going to be the first to admit that I was slightly disappointed in “Phoenix”, the lead single for the album… it left a lot to be desired and was quite repetitive. However, when I saw the band live back in January, I found a new love for it as a live track and even more love for it when it was introduced into the album as a whole. When the 2nd single from the album, “Mikasa” was released, there was an uproar of hate thrown towards the band because there were… wait for it… clean vocals in a Veil of Maya song?!? This was just the tip of the iceberg as the band have decided to dial it back a bit on the heavy side, focusing more on the intricacies within the guitar melodies and tightening the relationship of the band as a whole. For all you elitists out there, there are still plenty of chugs and much heavier sections… so don’t get your panties in a bunch. While Matriarch isn’t a concept album, you’ll notice that some of the titles, such as “Ellie”, “Lucy” and “Lisbeth” are in reference to powerful female figures, keeping to the theme of the album.
The album as a whole has a huge feel to it, almost theatrical. It’s incredibly atmospheric, especially when you add in the ever-lurking keyboard/synth portions that we’ve been so used to. The most impressive thing about this album is how it still feels like the same old VOM that we’ve come to know and love, experimenting successfully with several new emotion-envoking elements. Magyar has an incredible range of both clean and screaming vocals, taking this band to new heights and territories… especially apparent in the aforementioned tracks. We’ve yet to see if he can manage to hit those guttural growls that we saw from previous vocalist Brandon Butler. Has he stepped up and filled the huge shoes set before him? Absolutely! Will he continue to wow us with future Veil releases? We certainly hope so… but only time will tell.
Perfectly placed clean vocals, intricate instrumentals and powerful lyrics make this one of my favorite Sumerian Records releases of the year. If the band continues on the path they’re on since Lukas Magyar joined their ranks, the sky is absolutely the limit! Have you picked up your copy of Matriarch yet? Check out the links below, if not and be sure to catch them live, currently on their headlining Matriarch Tour (dates below)!
“Mikasa” (Official Music Video)