False Idol is Veil Of Maya’s first album since 2015’s Matriarch, an album which elevated their already considerable status in the world of tech metal. With the addition of versatile vocalist Lukas Magyar, they created a vibrant, neon world in which twisting riffs and huge choruses sat side by side and complemented each other perfectly. What this did serve to do, however, was to alienate a certain section of their fan base who were not fans of the inclusion of clean vocals in their sound, something of a counter productive attitude in an apparently ‘progressive’ scene.
The first single to be released from False Idol was the incendiary ‘Overthrow’, which showed no signs of leaving the clean vocals behind, and still had the pace and fury of the riffing from ‘Matriarch’. However, this song is probably the closest on the album to that sound, with False Idol’s sound something of a throwback whilst also looking forward. The first proper song on the album, ‘Fracture’, starts with a mesmerising riff stacked with whammy bar acrobatics and effects, and the rest of the song carries on in the vein of their older style, with harsh vocals and pummelling riffs. However, the clean vocals in the chorus here feel somewhat shoehorned in and don’t particularly fit the song.
This is a pattern which appears a little too often on the record, possibly due to the band and singer having been apart whilst working on the album. Magyar reportedly was working in a different studio to the rest of the band and was coming up with vocal lines on the spot. Whilst that may lend a certain spontaneity to parts of the record, other times it feels like certain ideas are not quite fully-formed or are nearly there.
Luckily, when Veil Of Maya get the balance right of aggression and melody, like they did so well on Matriarch, they are unstoppable. Previously mentioned lead single ‘Overthrow’ and ‘Echo Chamber’ should be staples of the live set and would be perfect introductions to a new listener. Added effects like the whammy bar taps and keyboard parts sprinkled throughout the record really separate Veil Of Maya from a lot of the imitation bands who surround them, and for the most part this is an album that could only have been written by them.
Occasionally, some of the riffs fall in to the trap of regurgitating standard tech metal clichés, like ‘Pool Spray’, which sounds like almost any tech metal band of the last few years. This is a shame when Veil Of Maya have such a strong identity and are often one of the most creative bands within their genre.
False Idol is in fact a concept record, although the narrative is often lost through obvious lyrics and lacklustre songwriting. It is a shame that VoM are unable to match Matriarch for consistency, but False Idol certainly has moments of brilliance.