As one of djent’s biggest bands, Veil Of Maya could easily forge ahead with their own formula, avoiding risks.
Instead, Matriarch marks a major shift in their song-writing approach, partly inspired by the arrival of new vocalist Lucas Magyar but also seemingly driven by a desire to let technicality and melody co-exist with more ease.
Lucas’s clean vocals conform to generic type at times here, recalling a lithe mixture of Coheed’s Claudio and Periphery’s Spencer, but the songs he is singing are such that everything sounds just as it should be. In the past, the band were reliant on angular bluster and polyrhythmic precision, but on shape-shifting anthems like Mikasa and Three-Fifty, the Americans exude a heightened sense of engagement with their own gleaming din, as electronics skitter and grind across a bedrock of lurching, robotic riffola. Still thrillingly brutal when the mood takes them – Leeloo and Phoenix are deliciously nasty – Matriarch is this band’s smartest, catchiest and most straightforwardly entertaining album to date.