Veil of Maya European Tour (May 6th, 2012)

I’d been looking forward to this tour ever since it was first announced: Veil of Maya joined by Betraying the Martyrs, Vildhjarta, Volumes and Structures. It’s not the kind of lineup you get to see every day in Europe and with at least a couple of the bands playing the UK for the first time it was not one to miss. The venue, Moho Live in Manchester, is quite a small venue but also very loud – perfect for this kind of music. Opening the night was Volumes, a djent-influenced progressive metal band from Southern California. They’re a band I’ve grown particularly fond of over the past year since the release of their full-length and their live show did not disappoint. The set included favourites Wormholes, Intake and The Columbian Faction. These were all fantastic with the guitars sounding clear and bouncy and the drumming crisp and clean. The most notable part of the performance for me was the two vocalists who linked up perfectly to give the band an extra dimension, both in terms of stage presence and sound. The duo combined well for the most ferocious sound of the night and easily the most energetic show. The crowd responded well to this and whilst there were a few disappointed faces when they finished the set on Via instead of Edge of the Earth, nobody was going to complain too much. The next band on was Structures, a band from Ontario, Canada who play their own brand of metalcore with progressive and djent influences. I was looking forward to them almost as much as Volumes and they also matched expectations. The set was mostly taken from their new album and included At Last[t], Hydroplaning and Tunnel Vision, all very good songs. Structures are a little more fast-paced than Volumes and sadly didn’t sound quite as tight, with some of the more technical passages getting a bit lost in a live setting. They’re also a band known for their use of clean vocals and these were barely audible for the set. This isn’t to say they were bad, it was still very enjoyable with the intense vocalist being the focal point. They went down well and the set saw a lot of crowd participation. Following on from Structures was Vildhjarta, a Swedish band which plays a Meshuggah-influenced djent style of progressive metal. This isn’t really my cup of tea so I took a seat for their set but still managed to enjoy it. They played a tight show, with a much slower pace than the previous two bands, but with an incredibly powerful sound. The vocals were markedly different to Volumes and Structures with a more death metal growl style but this complimented the music well. Their guitars were by far their most interesting aspect for me, combining (I looked this up) harmonic minor progressions and jarring harmonic staccato riffs interwoven with layers of ambient reverb. The crowd were quite static for the set but I think that probably goes with the style of music. I can’t say I’ll be spinning their album again soon but it was quite a display to watch and something a bit different. Up next were Betraying the Martyrs, a metalcore-come-deathcore band from Paris, France. I have to say I shunned this band because of their use of keyboards and clean vocals which really don’t do anything for me but for this set they were pretty much drowned out by the wall of noise emanating from the rest of the band. This meant they were actually a pleasant surprise. The vocalist was perhaps the best part of the band with an exceptionally brutal scream and a decent range. The music may not have been too tuneful but it was an energetic display which contrasted well with Vildhjarta having played before them. Again, I won’t be rushing out to spin their album but I appreciate the band more than I did before. The final band of the night was Veil of Maya and they were clearly the band that most people had come to see. To anyone not familiar with them, Veil of Maya play a progressive and technical style of deathcore known to some as Sumariancore. They pumped out a decent set with a mix of old and new songs, the highlights being Crawl Back, Punisher and It’s Not Safe to Swim Today. They handled their technical parts a little smoother than Structures which is perhaps an indicator of the talent in the band. If I had one complaint it would be that I wasn’t especially keen on the vocals which sounded a little bit shrieked. The other elements of the band compensated for this, however, with the sound nicely balanced between the other instruments. They were well received by the crowd whose only other complaint could be that the set, like one of their albums, was a bit short.

This was an excellent show, perhaps a little anti-climatic from a personal point of view because my favourite band of the night was on first. If you’re in Europe and like djent-influenced metal, I’d definitely recommend checking this tour out if you still can.

By George ~ Me Gusta Reviews