Released By : Nuclear Blast
Release Date: January 31, 2014
Genre : Progressive, Symphonic Death Metal
Rob van der Loo
Ariën van Weesenbeek
01. Bloodline Forfeit (featuring Marcela Bovio)
02. Burn Your Witches (featuring Floor Jansen)
03. Redemption ~ The Democracy Illusion (featuring Floor Jansen)
04. Paladins Of Deceit ~ National Security Extremism: Part 1
05. Lone Wolf
06. Devil In Disguise (featuring Marcela Bovio)
07. Insano (featuring Dimitris Katsoulis)
08. Human Sacrifice (featuring Marcela Bovio)
09. Enemies Of Freedom
10. Capital Punishment
11. Faceless Spies ~ National Security Extremism: Part 2
When MaYaN released their debut album QUARTERPAST back in 2011, it was promoted as a vehicle created by EPICA/AFTER FOREVER guitarist/growler Mark Jansen to appease his desire to play a heavier style of metal than the mainly symphonic styling of his main band. The album featured plenty of friends and guest stars and definitely showed glimpses of another side of Jansen, but ultimately it always felt more like a project release rather than a true band album and never quite reached what it seemed to set out to achieve.
The second time around though, all of the creases seem to be ironed out and MaYaN feel much, much more like a true band now. Their second album, ANTAGONISE, takes all of the potential and good ideas from the first record and twists them up into something that is unique, interesting and most importantly darn good fun. The more symphonic style that Jansen is best known for is in abundance, but the heavier stuff is more prominent this time around, with certain sections of the album really displaying a tasty Death Metal groove. The other more noticeable difference between ANTAGONISE and it’s predecessor is that there is much less emphasis on the female vocal contribution. There is still enough of it there to keep fans of operatic and melodic female voices happy, but it’s the combination of Jansen’s growls and the clean but still tough vocals of Henning Basse (Hypnoside, Metalium) that drive this beast.
Lyrically, the album centres around a flowing theme, in which the band delve into the recent admissions from the NSA about their high level of spying on their own people and complete lack of privacy and trust that the people feel for their government. It’s not essential for the enjoyment of the album to follow the theme too deeply, but if you do, rest assured that it’s quite an interesting take on the matter that will make you think about who is watching you and when.
Abundance is the key word on ANTAGONISE, with everything ramped up as much as possible. This is where the more progressive nature of the music shines through as the underlying feel switches around from Symphonic Metal to Melodic Death Metal to Operatic Metal and back again without a hitch, as so the varied vocals covering the growls, cleans, female operatic and whatever else the band could fit into each song without overloading it’s initial endeavour. It will be interesting to look back in a few months or so and see which corner of the market MaYaN have the most luck in with this album. It may be a little too heavy and gloomy for the Symphonic crowd, and a little to “nice” for the death metal crowd, but it’s probably easier to pitch an album like this to the progressive metal fans. Those of you into bands like OPETH, DIMMU BORGIR and especially DEVIN TOWNSEND should certainly check this one out.
Written by Zeezee