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There is no doubt that one of the most anticipated metal releases of 2012 is the new Veil of Maya album. This new effort will street while the band is out on the massive North American tour with the legendary In Flames and Trivium, which is a must see for all metal fans. Veil of Maya tracked bass, drums and guitars with their great friend and label mate, Misha Mansoor (Periphery) as the renowned Michael Keene (The Faceless) handled all vocal production duties. Guitarist Marc Okubo shares his excitement, "The tracks came out amazing and give me the chills! We have spent lots of time on the road with Periphery and now working with Misha is an added bonus. He is beyond a genius and understands our focus for this next record. Things are faster, more technical and beyond any of our efforts thus far."
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VOM is still a very technical band along with their patented creepy ambiance & all but the focus has shifted to speed over spontaneity, which leaves me torn. I'm sorry but there's no rule that says fast=heavy. That's the biggest misconception in metal. Although Eclipse is a step up from their last album, their bizarre & unpredictable timings that changed on a dime during their earlier work is what drew me to them in the first place. So, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least a little disappointed because their music just hasn't been nearly as much fun since CMC. Some will agree with me on that point & some won't, I know. This is just a point of view so, take it for what it is. Still a good album though, still worth purchasing. It is, after all, Veil Of Maya.
There are a couple of ominously quiet, electronic/symphonic -- and near DJent-worthy -- interludes (see "20/200" and the closing "With Passion And Power"). But of the eight proper songs that remain, the opener "Divide Paths," seems to stand out the most. Recalling the likes of Beneath The Massacre and The Faceless, this track explodes with Cookie Monster death metal vocals, Origin-inspired guitar sweeps, and triggered, grinding blast beats. (The drumming in this song comes across sounding like the birth child of John Lengstreth and Flo Mounier.) And there are plenty of chunky, chugging breakdowns to be had, here, as well. Tracks three and seven (the aptly-entitled "Punisher" and "Numerical Scheme"), meanwhile, both boast plenty of chunky, staccato Meshuggah riffing anchored by pummeling blasts. And, in the case of the latter song, a very proggy, infectious, and sweeping guitar intro is also included. "Enter My Dreams" also evokes Meshuggah, as it is filled with insane drumming (including a rapid-fire drum intro, jackhammer-fast double-time pummel, and Tomas Haake-reminiscent polyrhythms), and tacks on a good, Meshuggah-ish solo near the end, too. Two of the set's other biggest standouts include "The Glass Slide," with has pulsing, throbbing bass work; and "Winter Is Coming Soon" which marries Slayer-esque guitar licks with blistering, breakneck drumming, and tosses in an interesting -- if somewhat out of place -- mid-song symphonic breakdown for good measure, too.
"Eclipse" marks a huge musical and creative step forward for Veil Of Maya from the rather unremarkable, monotonous, and all-around generic deathcore heard on 2010's "ID." And, not only that, it is also the best album in this band's discography (which, granted, is still quite young); and one of the finer technical death metal/grind records you are likely to find in all of 2012. Recommended.