Mayan - Quarterpast

Mayan - Quarterpast

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(CD, Nuclear Blast, 2011)

Whoever is into EPICA’s music should be aware of Mark Jansen’s love for Death Metal, especially of the last era of DEATH’s discography. This is why at almost every EPICA concert the cover on DEATH’s “Crystal Mountainis part of the setlist as an excuse for Simone to have a break. Since EPICA could not fully implement Mark’s influences and love for this music genre, it was a logical move to form a project band to satisfy his urge. So, having in his side some EPICA members and some other friends, MAYAN was born and it took no time for Nuclear Blast to offer them a record deal. One year after the formation, MAYAN hit the stores with the debut album entitled “Quarterpast”.

To tell you the truth I was not expecting something different for Jansen and co.; no, this is far from being characterized as predictable and in fact it is not an easy album. to listen The compositions are complicated and have a lot to chew/ digest, demanding more CD spins than is usually required. This is a pure progressive Death Metal with complex structures, great fast breaks and some orchestral arrangements that will point to EPICA, no questions asked. The music is based on the guitar riffs that bear the mark of Chuck Schuldiner’s most influential and groundbreaking work that was so ahead of his time back in the early 90s. Jansen is also responsible for the growling vocals where he does a great job as he always does live with “Crystal Mountain. With the orchestral arrangements in play the guest appearance of Simone is kind of expected; her sweet voice creates this great antithesis I would like to have more in EPICA’s works. But the guest-list does not end with just one name; MAYAN have enlisted some additional guest throats from Floor Jansen, Henning Basse and Laura Macrì who originally belongs to the Italian opera.

All these may sound too much and, based on my standards, sometimes they do. On the other hand, MAYAN seem to possess the ability to put an order to this musical chaos that requires more time to be fully enjoyed; and when this happens, the listener can sink his teeth in the multiple layers that lie on top of each other creating a kaleidoscope of sound tastes. Songs like “Symphony Of Aggression” and “Celibate Aphrodite” are a genre trip with Death Metal growls and symphonic Black Metal breaks that may reveal some DIMMU BORGIR finishing touches. Laura Macrì’s voice is the icing on the cake, giving the extra flavor and the diversity to this impressive album.

We have to give additional kudos to Jansen who decided to form a project band to satisfy his Death Metal need and did not try to alter EPICA’s musical id and, eventually, bewilder the fans. I think nowadays many prefer the latter approach instead of taking the bold step to create something from scratch. Apart from the complex compositions and the dense musical content, the album features great guitar work with shredding riffs and fret melting phrases that managed to make me dig out DEATH’s back catalogue and once again admire Chuck’s signature playing.

So, this is a very interesting album with a lot to offer to the fans of this genre. Don’t be fooled by the many EPICA references in this review, since this album has minimal similarities and serves fast drum-breaks, Death Metal rhythms and in time symphonic Black Metal intermissions. If you like your Metal served with complexity and think the Schuldiner/ DiGiorgio was a golden moment, grab this one!

8/10 


Links:

www.MayanOfficial.Com
www.Twitter.Com/MayanOfficial
www.MySpace.Com/MayanOfficial
www.FaceBook.Com/MayanBand


Tracklist:

01. Symphony Of Aggression
02. Mainstay Of Society
03. Quarterpast
04. Course Of Life
05. The Savage Massacre
06. Essenza Di Te
07. Bite The Bullet
08. Drown The Demon
09. Celibate Aphrodite
10. War On Terror
11. Tithe
12. Sinner's Last Retreat


Lineup:

Rob van der Loo - Bass
Ariën Van Weesenbeek - Drums, Vocals
Isaac Delahaye - Guitars
Frank Schiphorst - Guitars
Jack Driessen - Keyboards, Vocals
Mark Jansen - Vocals