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The People’s Review: Veil Of Maya – ‘False Idol’

28 December 2017 | 5:56 am | Alex Sievers

We asked and the public answered with their thoughts on 'False Idol', the most recent album from Veil Of Maya.

We've had quite a few people messaging us over the past two months about where a review of Veil Of Maya's newest album, 'False Idol' - the follow-up to 2015's cracking 'Matriarch' LP - was and when exactly it was coming. Sadly, we missed a review at the release period of the Chicago band's sixth record back in October (released via Sumerian Records) for various reasons. However, with 2017 barrelling closer towards its fast-approaching end, I suddenly had an idea and instead thought we'd try something a little bit different: a collective review from various friends and KYS readers alike about their own thoughts on this particular record instead of someone like myself just dolling out my opinions like the god-complex-raving-madman I am. So go on, have a read of what people had to say about 'False Idol' below: 

"It's a very generic djent album but it definitely has its mosh moments and some nice little electronic sweeps as well. The whole album overall is sort of tied together by the cleaner post-hardcore vocals keeping it somewhat enjoyable and not completely boring". 

-Elisha, 22, Melbourne. 

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"Veil of Maya are clearly out to prove they are still relevant in an online world that is ruled by the hamster wheel of 'who can play it faster, harder and djentier'. However! Newtown's second law states that expansion too far renders something unsustainable, which accurately describes VOM's artistic trajectory."

-Alasdair, 21, Sydney.

"'False Idol' manages to maintain a decent variety of guitar riffs and grooves that keep the album entertaining throughout. The guitar work on 'Fracture' is a shining example of how one can use tremolo flutters in a creative way that suits a melodic line or riff, as opposed to shoehorning them in obnoxiously. I also couldn’t help but get a distinct Silent Hill vibe from the piano break in 'Overthrow', much like how on Veil of Maya's previous album, the guitar melodies in 'Daenerys' sounded like something straight from the FFVII soundtrack."

- Andrew, 22, Brunswick. 

Shit album. Sounded like noise and tried too hard.”

-Boogs 31, Gold Coast, KYS user. 

"No anime or movie references in the song titles? 0/10."

-Kate, 25, Adelaide. 

"Nasal cleans are so 2009, but this would be great for people who haven’t grown out of their emo phase."

- Molly, 22, Gippsland. 

“If I wanted to listen to Periphery, I would”.

-Chris, 30, Queensland.

“It’s kind of like jacking off to WebM's. If it doesn't grab your attention straight away, it probably just needs a few more repeats. It's a little lacking in any soul, but somehow you keep coming back to it.”

-Dylan, 24, Melbourne.

“This sounds like hot garbage.”

-Jarrad, Perth KYS user.

“Just go and listen to Aversions Crown’s ‘Xenocide’ instead - it’s a million times better.”

-Firey, 33, Melbourne KYS user.

Alex, I’m not going to listen to this.

-Garryl, 19, Perth KYS user.

“Great range and variety from all parts, just a shame it all still sounds repetitive when listening to the album as a whole. Definitely would’ve benefited if the songs didn’t drag on for as long.”

-Ryun, 19, Canberra, KYS user.

“Far too old for this music; find me in the underground emo-trap section.”

-Ozone, Australia, KYS user. 

"Does it djent? Sure. Why the fuck not? Kids these days love a good polyrhythmic paddling. I don't think there's anything on here as overwhelming catchy as 'Mikasa' and that's probably deliberate. But it's also a shame because that song was out of fucking control. Straight up hook central; many banger. 'False Idol' sounds cool though and the bottom-end in 'Whistleblower' is some seriously murky shit. Good work, djentlemen. Old mate Lukas Magyar has some solid fucking pipes on him as well. There's also that bit in 'Overthrow' at around 1:40, which sounds like it has some Northlane cross-pollination going on. But, if I'm being honest, I'll probably just listen to 'Mikasa' thirteen times in a row before I go back to this record.”

-Owen, 29, Brisbane. 

"I loved Matriarch. If I’m being honest, it was the first Veil of Maya record that I made it the entire way through, simply due to the fact that the band finally had a vocalist with some god damn character. False Idol is cool, and there is no denying the band’s incredible musicianship and machine-like tightness. Sadly, it just doesn’t capture me the same way that Matriarch did. It has moments of flare and excitement (plus riffs galore), but lacks the hooky choruses and staying power of its predecessor."

-Nicholas, 27, Melbourne. 

Finally, after some further asking around for this article before going live with it, I also received this massive think-piece from a friend:

This album is a boring fucking slog and I plan to sue Alex for cruel and unsafe work conditions for making me listening to this absolute dreck. To be clear, every member of Veil of Maya, besides the singer, is extremely talented and the band certainly play together well - I can find no fault with the musicianship. But, I don’t listen to music to prove that the musicians I like are good; I listen to music to feel things (maaaaan). And I felt nothing throughout this entire album. You could probably have more fun than listening to this album by letting a pair of berserk chickens loose in a guitar shop. One of the few cases where the band did something I actually liked was on the ending to 'Follow Me', where I could actually understand what the hell was going on and I was beginning to, dare I say, almost enjoy it. The other moment was the last half of ‘Echo Chamber’, which made me think ‘Ooh, that’s not bad’. And that, right there, was the peak of my emotional involvement with this album. These moments were different from the all-out assault on my senses that was being undertaken throughout the rest of experience with 'False Idol'. Now, you probably think I just don’t “get it”, and you’d be right. I do not get this at all.

Speaking of not getting it, allow me to get on my soapbox for a minute. What is the purpose of the breakdowns? Are they to surprise the listener? I fuckin' hope not, considering there’s one or two on every song of this album. Seriously, how does a band decide to put a breakdown in their songs? Do they ache over it for hours, to decide if the song needs one, or do they just shrug and say “well, we probably should have one?” Are they to establish a tone? No, because the tone of “I’m angry and my hands are basically a trained mechanical spider” has been well-established in this style already. Are they to make the song heavy? I don’t see how, considering every song is sufficiently heavy enough as it is. I once asked a friend this question and the response that made the most sense to me was that breakdowns are for crowd interaction, which I understand. However, in the nicest possible way: fuck that shit. Breakdowns are formulaic and contrived, and if I wanted good crowd interaction, I would just go see the band play live. Breakdowns are equivalent to a modern pop song telling me to “put my hands up”, and that’s all well and good if I’m at a gig, but it’s a little different if I’ve got my hands full because I’m eating ice cream and playing Binding of Isaac at home for what could possibly be the thousandth time.

Oh shit, that's right - the singer. Yeah, look, he sucks. It's clear he can switch between three different styles rapidly on a single track, but having the range of Lana Del Rey on downers in three styles isn’t better than actually being good in one. Pick a lane, buddy. The changing of vocal styles only matters during the choruses anyway, because apparently this “super heavy hardcore Djent band” can’t help but have a chorus that people can try way too hard to sing at gigs (or at home while doing the dishes - I don’t know how you fucking listen to your music). I feel like the singer would be better suited to picking one style, preferably either the growling or the screaming, and actually spending some time honing his craft further. I’m not against the combination of clean and harsh vocals – hell, I love The Atlas Moth - but I feel as though changing between the three vocal styles, seemingly at random at times, adds little to the album besides unnecessarily poppy choruses.

I’m now going to put the boot in one last time and talk about the production: it’s too clean for what it wants to be. If you make heavy and angry music, which I certainly hope a band calling their album ‘False Idol’ does, it shouldn’t sound so psychotically clean. Anger isn’t clean. Anger doesn’t sit down and iron out its edges for hours; it just happens. It’s intense and raw and this production lacks any of that. The polished sound of the album even takes away from the heaviness that most Youtube commenters carry on about so fucking much. If you want an example of heaviness being aided by a fitting production style, my go-to example for anger is 'Dopethrone' by Electric Wizard - the entire album, of course, but the title song in particular. 'Dopethrone' sounds heavy as shit, largely because of the noisy and raw production, and it manages all of that without covering the album in fucking squealies. 

Long-time fans of Veil of Maya will probably eat this shit right up, but I just don’t see what the difference is between their new album and any other proggy-metal/djent song or album of the past few years. Because if you’ve heard one song with a 7-string guitar utilizing a whopping two strings tops, chances are you’ve heard them all."

-Bill, 22, Melbourne.

Well, there you have it, folks: the people have spoken. Thank you all to those who got back to us about this piece - it was much appreciated. Should we do this type of joint review again down the road for another record or should we just scrap this idea right fuckin' now? Let us know!  

Stream 'False Idol' below: