VEIL OF MAYA COMES TO THE SKYWAY
With each album, the band evolves its sound, and “False Idol” is its most ambitious project yet
Photo by JAR
By Lianna Matt
When American metalcore band Veil of Maya released its first full length album 11 years ago, the audience who came to see them looked a little different. Instead of the couple of thousand of people they might see now, there would be about three hundred people total if there were multiple acts that night. There were barely any cellphone screens glowing from the crowd—certainly no Snapchat—and mosh pits and hardcore dancing were the norm, not jumping. “Everything else, the making music and being creative, gives you the same feeling,” says original band member and lead guitarist Marc Okubo.
Okubo remembers coming to Minnesota and playing at the soon-closing Triple Rock Social Club with After Burial's 2007 tour when Jamey Jasta from the band Hatebreed strolled in. For just being “kids,” as Okubo puts it, that was crazy. (Heck, with Hatebreed's Grammy nomination and other awards, that would still be a big deal.) Since then, Veil of Maya has ascended the ranks to the point that new artists on the charts are friends and tours have gone international. Before the band goes overseas again, see them Nov. 3 at Skyway Theatre with Silent Planet, Thousand Below and headliner The Devil Wears Prada.
As Veil of Maya has become more famous, its sound has also evolved as they started consistently hitting top 20 spots across the U.S. Heat, U.S. Hard Rock, U.S. Rock and U.S. Independent charts. Perhaps its biggest change to the sound was the addition of vocalist Lukas Maygar in 2015. The clean vocals Maygar added only grew more prominent with the powerful, catchy choruses of their newest album, “False Idol,” which was released Oct. 20; the album's song “Manichee” provided the band's first song that had no screaming in the vocals at all.
“False Idol” is a 13-track, first person view of one person's rise to power. The lyrics are careful to stay general enough to allow fans to imprint their own story onto the songs. In lieu of a specific plot, the story arc is carried on the rise, fall and bite of emotion—and potentially some politics.
“It would be very difficult for me to convince someone that it wasn't political, but it wasn't made about a specific person in the world today or in the past,” says Maygar. “It was more so knowing the history in the world and doing what I can to understand the mindset. … Some think it's about our current age here in America, and it's definitely not that. It just timed out to be that way.”
Reviews for “False Idol” have been pouring in online, yet neither Maygar nor Okubo are too bothered by them, good or bad. Maygar likes to “review the reviews,” and Okubo particularly likes to judge people by their faces and eyebrows when it's a video commentary. They know that some people will like the album and some won't. Either way, fans will have to wait a little longer for the songs to fully infiltrate the tour set list. First the songs have to sit a little bit, ruminate. People may like the songs, but the band knows audiences often need a little more time to get to know the tracks before they can really enjoy them live.
And really, seeing the band live is what can make the metal genre click, especially for those newer to the sound. Okubo remembers growing up in Chicago's hippie scene with punk bands, death metal shows and hardcore shows filling up his evenings. “I don't think I would have appreciated those genres as much if I didn't see them live,” he says. “There are a lot of people who don't like the death core vocals or screaming if they only hear it, but when you're in the room, you can feel the energy.”
Get submersed in Veil of Maya's energy this Friday at Skyway Theatre on The Devil Wears Prada's No Sun / No Moon tour. Between Okubo's guitar riffs and Maygar's vocals, it's a hurricane of raw catharsis and talent, but when you add Sam Applebaum on drums and Danny Hauser on bass, you might find yourself their newest fan.