Arguably among top ten best metal albums of 2015, no one member in Veil of Maya’s roster is overshadowed in this new direction. This time around the entire band’s talent is showcased more evenly than in previous albums. Graduating from six string baritones to seven and upping the ante with recently acquired vocalist Lukas Magyar, Veil of Maya’s Matriarch delivers a little little less flash while still holding on to the thrashy-ness that fans have grown to love.
Though Magyar’s high screams, low growls, and clear vibrato are brought to the table on a glorious china plate encased in a catchy melody sandwich, the introduction of the first clean vocals since the band’s inception isn’t the most notable change from previous vocalist Brandon Butler, who left the band during Matriarch’s inception due to “creative differences.”
While Veil of Maya has always included little easter eggs in their track titles, such as the Game of Thrones headnod “Winter Is Coming Soon” from their 2012 album Eclipse, Martiarch goes further by being their first album to follow a female inspired theme. Guitarist Marc Okubo fit the album’s concept around strong female characters from different fictional genres.
“All the tracks are named after powerful female characters that I found interesting,” he explains. “I always make code names for whatever songs I’m writing, and this time they all stuck to a theme.”
Fans will recognize some of their favorite characters as title tracks scattered throughout the album, from Final Fantasy VII‘s “Aeris,” to the mother of dragons, “Daenerys” from Game of Thrones, and even a few lesser known fandoms, such as “Lucy”and her split personality “Nyu” from Elfen Lied. As a huge fan of Brian K. Vaughan, Okubo’s “Three-Fifty” pays homage to Y: The Last Man‘s Agent 355, and he is currently reading the immensely popular Saga. Cue me on the edge of my seat waiting to hear Okubo riff some justice to the character Alana.
Although Okubo wrote the album to fit into his theme, new vocalist Lukas Magyar penned the lyrics separately and has only within recent months acquired the Internet to catch up on shows like Attack on Titan, with Matriarch‘s single named after the female protagonist, “Mikasa.” Watch the official video from Sumerian Records below, and be prepared for the tasty chorus to get stuck in your head for weeks. Sorry not sorry.
Matriarch also features less of the band’s old signatures, choosing instead to limit the vocals and blast beats to more appropriate timing. When used more sparingly, this enables the songwriting to effectively place pieces to create a better dynamic, rather than barrage the ears with consistent noodling. Though this is outside of the box for Veil of Maya, the execution is effortless as usual and there’s no doubt the album is a sleeper. There’s a song for every fandom, and obviously “Daenerys” is the best, because I’m 100% biased.
Veil of Maya’s Matriarch can be purchased here and tickets for the Summer Slaughter tour are on sale now at TicketFly. If you attend the Dallas date, don’t be surprised by the small, dark-haired gal bopping around. Just wave.