Change is an all too common theme throughout music. Whether it’s bands changing lineups, artists changing their overall appearance or most commonly, the change of sound and style, it’s an everlasting facet that affects the industry we so direly love. That’s why Sumerian Records signees Veil of Maya’s latest outing, False Idol is a nice change of pace – especially after the drastic differentiation 2015’s Matriarch brought with it due to the inclusion of new vocalist Lukas Magyar. With their second record in as many years, the band is once again set with a consistent lineup and the cohesion between the members has never felt stronger, with each individual’s talents and abilities shining through beautifully and the onus of creating the album with Magyar’s voice in mind front and center. As the band stated, they “wanted to create something fresh” and “not recycle the same old thing [as] it’s a new beginning” and both statements couldn’t be truer.
False Idol opens up the gates with very little as the :37 second intro appropriately titled “Lull” is more of an addition to the first true song, “Fracture”. This is made even more obvious as it seamlessly blends with “Fracture” exploding through the speakers right away as crunchy riffs and deep growls lead into blastbeats and intricate instrumentation throughout. It’s a gorgeous representation of what Veil of Maya hoped to achieve on their latest record; building off of their classic sound while adding in what Matriarch brought to the table. Continuing forward, “Doublespeak” and “Overthrow” let off the pedal of aggression ever so slightly with more focus on moments of ambiance and soaring choruses over djent-y deliciousness. The middle stretch of False Idol is where it really starts to sheds it skin as the various approaches lyrically, instrumentally and vocally shine through, showcasing brilliant composition and deviation in what the genre can provide. Take a close listen to “Whistleblower” to get a true understanding of this – from the opening distortion that is reminiscent of scratching to the dancing chords of the underlying riff and Lukas’ vocal approach that has more emotion and subtlety to it.
Continuing in varied fashion, “Echo Chamber” offers up one of the strongest blends between the flurry of death metal stylings interspersed with booming cleans and moments of ambiance while “Pool Spray” drops the tuning with deep, dark growls and a riff that will fill fans of heavy “chugs” to their utmost delight. “Graymail” continues treading the water that Veil of Maya’s roots are buried in with its brutality and haunting atmosphere while “Manichee” brings forward a feeling of hope as Magyar’s voice soars throughout before the remaining minute becomes an instrumental showcase. As you enter the final moments of False Idol, some of most vivid and old school moments come to the forefront, all starting with the unique fusion that is “Citadel”. The song opens up with an almost angelic sound as chorial vocals belt through the speakers over a riff that starts to build with the tapping on a drumkit slowly being introduced before Lukas can be heard singing “along the way, mistakes were made”. After the first minute, the tone takes a different route before melody takes centerstage again. “Follow Me” is really a throwback to the former distinct sound that Veil of Maya delivered upon years ago while the final tracks, “Tyrant” and “Livestream” retain the blend that False Idol started off with; doses of heavy instrumentation and brooding growls while retaining a layer of atmospheric and melodic bits to remain even keeled.
While the desire of the band to not recycle the same old thing is a goal met quite faithfully throughout the whole of False Idol, there are moments that truly harken back to what Veil of Maya used to create. This is a brilliant way of retaining the style that made them who they are while also continuing to expand on what they set out to create with Matriarch. This makes False Idol not only a fantastic display of progression from release to release with a solidified core, it also makes it one of the strongest and most diverse metalcore albums to be released this year.