Veil of Maya – ‘[M]other’

By Shannon Eacups

Chicago quartet Veil of Maya are back with a new offering of madness, ‘[M]other’, the follow up from 2017’s ‘False Idol’. With long awaited anticipation from the genre curveballs, does ‘[M]other’ really live up to our expectations? Or is it just a nonsensical bunch of noise from fans who are too eager for something and nothing all at once?

This record opens on a strong start between ‘Tokyo Chainsaw’s’ dissonant spiral of mayhem, technicality and groove compared to ‘Artificial Dose’s’ formulaic metalcore chorus with face smashing jumpy, aggressive riff. A testament of what’s to come because when you let this band roam wild, they deliver tenfold. 

‘[Re]connect’ throws elements into the wind; with this track between the melodic guitar harmonies and the djent style riffs, it becomes a mashup of Periphery and Deftones in an oddly satisfying way. The drum grooves supplied by Sam Applebaum drive this song all the way to the finishing line, really pulling together this all round tight sounding track. It’s one of the lighter songs on this album, where heaviness is overlooked for melodic structure. 

‘Red Fur’ is carnage candy where Marc Okubo is concerned; the guitars are an oral masterpiece, in the chorus they’re a tunnel of ethereal waves whilst elsewhere they are choppy, and unhinged. Vocally, Lukas Magyar leans towards a tonal and melodic palette of R&B with his cleans, adding another dimension of flavour to an already certified hit. 

If you were seeking heavy and hard hitting tracks on your travels, then you are in for a treat. There’s not enough warning alarms that can brace you for ‘Vegan Synthwave’; chaos, urgency and earth shattering is the only way to describe the incessant breakdowns happening here, and pairing that with the unstoppable force that is Magyar and you have a match made in hell. Let alone the deathcore territory of ‘Godhead’s ending, Magyar’s vocals almost reach the very centre of the earth’s core with how low his gutturals are displayed – it could easily be the ‘into the hellfire’ of 2023. It’s clear he didn’t come here to play this time round.

‘Disco Kill Party’ is a more synth heavy song on this record and definitely earns the title of ‘dance metal’. During the more mellow sections, it definitely sounds like something Linkin Park would have released during their Meteora-era, and the there’s more of a display of Magyar’s honeysuckle soulful cleans, something in which he clearly excels. The record swiftly transitions to ‘Mother Pt. 4’ where synthwave-meets-prog; the rare definition of beauty in chaos. It starts off with a synth riff that sounds Stranger Things-esque in melody that smoothly transitions to the guitar, it’s delicate to the ears when the synth abruptly stops in parts. Magyar’s vocal performance shines in technicolor madness on this track between his emotive, ethereal cleans and the rageful intensity of his screams. 

We close out on two of the most surprising displays of character; ‘Lost Creator’ which follows suit in what ‘Godhead’ started, it has a mix of death metal elements before the song heads into the abyss between the rapid drumming and the guttural vocals that are often found in a genre that takes a black metal turn with tremolo guitars and the unholy shrieking screams. However, it’s the closer ‘Death Runner’ which hails light to an uncertain, melancholic violin solo that might have stolen the show for how creative this band has been with this record.

Overall, ‘[M]other’ is a record not to be slept on; an abundance of creativity has brought to life a collection of songs that are as destructive as they are ordered in chaos. They’ve proved they can deliver melodic charm, hellish screams and straight up disorder with synthwave charisma and R&B soul. There’s glimmers of the old Veil of Maya we’ve grown to love over the past decade but it’s fresh, modern and full of experimentation.

Veil of Maya has never felt so alive. 

SHANNON EACUPS

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