There will always be genres of music that no one enjoys for some reason pertaining to their taste, or what turns them off about that said genre stylistically. This can be said without a doubt for the deathcore genre. Although started with an intention of a very dark and technical standpoint (see the band The Red Chord), it's been muddled down to a mess of universally-toned guitars spouting out the same chord progressions and breakdowns, messily complimented with vocals that never really make or break the band. Throw some formulaic drum techniques and you have a very tired and dying genre.
Enter Veil of Maya, a 4-piece deathcore band hailing from Chicago, Illinois. Eclipse is their fourth album, and while sticking to a certain formula, people tend to look past the fact that the formula they stick with, is very invigorating from the likes of Whitechapel, Oceano, and Chelsea Grin. They break the mold of so many cliches, it's overwhelming. It's pretty progressive, to be honest, which is a good thing to actually see from a band who has coined themselves 'progressive deathcore.'
To start off this dissection, I'm going to hit the cons first, which is the formula they have employed on the past few albums, which aren't really that bad in the long run. The track starts off with '20/200', an intro, or taste of what's to come of the next 28 minutes about to be blasted at high volumes. It showcases a very odd-timed groovy breakdown, bookended by glitchy electronics. It's somewhat impressive that even though it is a break down, the mix is done so well that you can actually distinguish the bass line throughout the song. But like [id] and The Common Man's Collapse, they each start off the album with some sort of minute long intro breakdown, before fizzling out or transitioning into the next track.
Another problem with this album is that the album length is shorter, and if you look at their track record, they've only been getting shorter, and this album tops it. It's great to see that a band writes the attention span of it's listeners, but that feeling when you listen to something good, only to get not even a half hours worth of material gets to some people who have been waiting to hear this album after almost two years.
Other than that, this album doesn't stand out as much as [id] did. The game had been changed with that album, and it's hard to top the intensity and sheer madness of that album.
Now to the part you've been waiting for. Eclipse is without a doubt, a very fantastic listen. The guitars are astounding, coming from a genre that hardly breaks up it's monotony. Marc Okubo actually writes the most groove-pummeling, shred-tastic, and just creative guitar parts, keeping my ears intrigued with the amount of variety in his style, keeping away from the low-tuned chugs that deathcore is known for as much as possible. He plays so fast and effortlessly, it's refreshing to hear tracks like 'Numerical Scheme' or 'Divide Paths.' The newest edition to the band, the current bassist, is nothing to write off either. Thanks to the amazing production from none other than Misha Mansoor of Periphery fame, every instrument in this album is given it's space to be heard, giving the bassist a chance to be heard, and to acknowledge that not only can he keep up with the guitars, but he can write interesting bass lines. The drums bring the attached, syncopated drums, dropping poly-rhythms and blast beats with ease. The vocals are somewhat fresh to a genre, as the vocalist actually has grown more brutal with his lows almost reminding me of Demon Carcass of The Faceless a certain points, but his highs aren't nothing to applaud, although not taking away any experience of the album.
All and all, Eclipse may suffer from a few formula problems like I've stated, but this is a damn good listen, and very solid to listen to and enjoy, not even suffering from sequelitis from it's predecessor.