Veil of Maya’s fourth studio album Eclipse is not something that I should like. I don’t want to like it, even. –Core music centered around breakdowns and br00tal vocals generally isn’t my thing (and don’t even get me started on the fanbase), so I went in fully expecting this album to suck eggs. Needless to say, I felt awfully stupid for making such assumptions beforehand, because there’s not a whole lot of Hot Topic crap here-and what do you know? It’s really freaking good!
Working with Michael Keene from The Faceless and now Misha Mansoor of Periphery has obviously had a profound effect on Veil of Maya, as influences from both bands (although I can’t say I’m a fan of either) are loud and clear on Eclipse. They’re integrated in the right manner, too-it can’t really be classified as a deathcore, djent, or technical death metal album, but rather a melting pot of all three subgenres, taking the best of all worlds while leaving out most of the clichés. This is what ultimately makes Eclipse a damn fine album: instead of following the “rules” set by bands before them (chugging, breakdowns randomly inserted into songs, -core-ish vocals), Veil of Maya stuffs a crapload of ideas into each track, many of which will probably throw off the listener that goes in expecting something generic. The ending to “Enter My Dreams,” for example, really surprised me; it’s both technical and melodic, and although it’s nowhere to be found anywhere else in the album, it fits pretty well.
Here’s the other thing: this album is SHORT. It’s not even a half hour long, and most of the songs are under 3 minutes. But honestly, I think that makes Eclipse a hell of a lot more listenable than most of what’s being put out in the technical death metal subgenre these days. The dudes in Veil of Maya have some incredible chops, but don’t take 80 minutes to prove it to you, which is actually really nice. Instead of feeling obligated to count how many time changes are in the music or getting bored with an abundance of technicality, it’s very possible to just rock out to Eclipse. Of course, the album’s short length may make you think that you’re not getting your money’s worth if you buy it, but I’d say the quality of music on it more than makes up for the quantity.
Despite being pretty short, Eclipse is balanced in that each track has something unique to offer. The atmosphere in “Punisher,” the mindblowing drumming in “Vicious Circles,” the guitar wizardry in “The Glass Slide”…even the instrumental title track, which comes off as an interlude of sorts, is worth a few listens. This is a testament to how far the band’s songwriting skills have come; to incorporate so many influences in such little time while making each song distinguishable is no easy task, but Veil of Maya make it sound relatively easy.
Aside from the album length making me think twice about dropping 12 bucks on it, I can’t really find much wrong with Eclipse. None of the songs are bad enough to skip (and they’re all so short that it wouldn’t matter anyway), and the musicianship is very tight. Veil of Maya have matured to a point where they can mix stuff that’s already been beaten to death with their own sound and make it sound fresh and energetic, no matter how tired and clichéd their influences might have become. Rest assured, this is NOT just another technical deathcore album!