Veil Of Maya
All Things Set Aside
posted on 9/2006 By:
Okay, Veil of Maya, let’s get the shit part of the review over with first. I know you guys probably dig Rhymesayers and Def Jux and whatnot, and that sticking an ironic rap song on your metal album seemed like a funny idea at the time, but if it didn’t work for Obituary then it sure as hell won’t work for you. All Things Set Aside should have been one track shorter, but fortunately the dorky “?” hip-hop excursion is the record's last cut and thus easily skipped.
On to business. I’m not going to a lie, I shamelessly judged a book by its title when agreeing to review this album; many of you will no doubt recognize this band’s moniker, and I was hoping for jazzy prog-metal in the grand ol’ Cynic tradition. No such luck, but All Things Set Aside is hardly a complete disappointment either. These guys are peddling a very modern blend of tech-minded death metal and metalcore groove and tossing in a dash of progressive melody to top things off; think the first Glass Casket album or Between the Buried and Me sans the nonsensical style-hopping and singing/caterwauling. Truth be told, I’m digging All Things Set Aside more than all but the earliest output of either aforementioned band. This particular hybrid is starting to wear thin as more and more competitors enter the field, but Veil of Maya’s riff-centric and unpretentious approach to songwriting is endearing next to the pseudo-experimentalism that many of their peers espouse. The majority of this album is devoted to chopping, morphing melody; the excellent “World of Lies” features almost Gothenburg-like thrash licks that provide a highly effective hook amongst the tremolo runs and breakdowns. The breakdowns, for what it’s worth, are sort of mid-range in terms of effectiveness. They never achieve the superlative-inviting level of metalcore bruisers like The Acacia Strain or legitimate death metal bands like Suffocation, but are generally brief and inventive enough to entertain (Adam Clemens’ very respectable gutturals don’t hurt matters either). The disc features a slightly grittier—and thus more interesting—production job than BTBAM and the like, which I felt was a nice touch. It’s really nothing to write home about, but it’s certainly above average for their immediate group of peers.
I like All Things Set Aside, I assure you. Veil of Maya are just saddled with the misfortune (or poor judgment) of competing with some exceptional bands in a very crowded niche, and those who follow it closely will no doubt enjoy it for what it is: a straightforward, punchy metal album that’s worthy of a connoisseur’s attention, but not much more. Those who enjoy the death-core-metal-whatever scene should be checking out the new albums by Fuck the Facts and All Shall Perish first, but this one runs a distant third.
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