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In just over a decade metalcore has exploded in popularity with a new generation of bands playing in a impulsively melodious and emotionally charged style. US-based Indie label Sumerian Records are at the forefront of metalcore, developing the bands who’ve really honed their craft in envelope-pushing guitar playing, and dedication to tight musicianship.
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Veil of Maya are one of the latest signings from Sumerian to be included in a fine roster of bands and after a three year absence the Chicago quartet will be heading back to Australia early next year with Dance Gavin Dance to showcase last year’s False Idol, the sixth album in their discography (reaching number two on the Billboard U.S. hard rock charts) and their 2015 release Matriarch. Hysteria spoke to guitarist Mark Okubo about their upcoming shows in our shores and the differences between playing in festivals and club shows.
“We love coming to Australia, we were here last in 2014 for the Free Your Mind mini-fest tour with Northlane, Thy Art is Murder, Volumes, and Make Them Suffer. There were lots of people that time but I’m not sure if they were all there to see us,” he laughs. “We’re playing more intimate shows this time around and I would rather have a 100 people who would be really excited to see us play than 2,000 people who didn’t want to see us play at all. It’s been lots of fun playing songs from False Idol, I’m excited to be coming back to Australia with two albums worth of new material, our sound has come quite a long way since the last time we were in the country.”
Born of Osiris, After The Burial, Periphery…we all started out at the same time as well as toured together a lot and we all are subconsciously influenced by Meshuggah.
As Veil of Maya have evolved sonically, the band have managed to authentically mix elements of progressive metal, melodic death metal, thrash and hardcore to their sonic palette. Achieving that balance means the songwriting has to be top notch. What is the band’s strategy for creating a successfully diverse sound? “When we first started we were more of a death metal band, we toured mainly with death metal and hardcore bands, since the last time we were in Australia we got a new vocalist and he started adding clean vocals which may have scared some of our fans away but it also gained us many new fans. So we’ll see how it goes in front our Australian fans.”
The hybrid of death metal, hardcore and progressive metal isn’t a new idea. Some may argue that it goes back to when bands such as Meshuggah and The Dillinger Escape Plan first made waves in the metal world, smashing extreme technical madness into hardcore and even jazz tendencies. Even so, it doesn’t phase Mark. “It comes to the point where I don’t even think about the whole modern metal movement of the last ten years has gravitated towards their sound, It’s also the Sumerian movement with bands like us, Born of Osiris, After the Burial, Periphery and Animals as Leaders. We all started out at the same time as well as toured together a lot and we all are subconsciously influenced by Meshuggah.”
Veil of Maya’s Chicago roots also shaped their music, lending its support for hardcore and death metal bands at the grassroots level. Chicago is also host to metalcore mecca Riot Fest, which has helped the contemporary metalcore scene grow tremendously. “We started playing in the death metal scene in Chicago but we worked our way to playing hardcore shows and that’s where we got our ideas to add breakdowns in our songs more in the style of Meshuggah as oppose to just blast beats and it became our sound.”
While the sound of metal is being shaped and redefined by a handful of musicians, it’s clear that extreme music played by trained musicians has a bright future.
Very limited tickets are available for the following Dance Gavin Dance & Veil Of Maya dates:
Tuesday 26 February – The Brightside, Brisbane 18+ – SOLD OUT
Wednesday 27 February – The Brightside, Brisbane 18+ – SOLD OUT
Thursday 28 February – Factory Theatre, Sydney 18+ – SOLD OUT
Friday 1 March – Small Ballroom, Newcastle 18+
Saturday 2 March – Corner Hotel, Melbourne 18+ – SOLD OUT
Monday 4 March – Jive Bar, Adelaide 18+ – SOLD OUT
Tuesday 5 March – Amplifier Bar, Perth 18+