Review: Veil Of Maya
Featuring: Veil Of Maya, Flagship, Bodies We've Buried & The Panoramic
The Marquis Theatre, Denver, CO. 10/24/14
Review by: Seth Wood
On October 24, 2014, at approximately 10:45pm, I witnessed what I thought had to be some sort of defect in my eyes—an entire dance floor of rowdy young adults all jumping together in prefect unison to the unrelenting beat of Veil of Maya’s “Namaste.” I kid you not; everything in my field of vision seemed synced in that moment, to the point that it felt like my eyes were twitching. This was one of those concerts that have an aura about them, a definite mood pervading the room like light through fog, a subtle but very tacitly known emotional atmosphere, being manipulated by the brick wall of sound coming from the stage.
Veil of Maya was in Denver on the first day of a five day tour surrounding their gig at Knotfest in San Bernardino, CA on the 26th. Less than a month ago, the band announced that they had parted ways with their vocalist of the past seven years, Brandon Butler, apparently over some rift regarding the new (yet to be released) album’s direction, as is made evident by the statements the vocalist made on his social media pages following the announcement. The band still has not announced a permanent replacement. Even with the loss of Butler, and the fact that the band has not released an album since Eclipse in 2012, many VOM fans shuttled in to the Marquis throughout the night. The venue was far from dead.
The show was opened by local act, Flagship, which was a terrific addition as an opening act. These guys were absolutely solid, all the members totally in sync with each other. It is easy to see that the guys in this band have been in the game for a while, given how tight they are together as well as the great tones they get out of their instruments. As for the songs themselves, the band does nothing to re-invent the wheel. Most riffs sound like things you have heard before, but by no means was the band boring or un-enjoyable to watch. Overall, they sounded great and fit in super well with the rest of the bands.
Next was Bodies We’ve Buried. Above all else I can say is that these guys play fast—constantly— an unrelenting musical onslaught, the kind that makes the audience wonder how big the pool of sweat must be underneath the drummer’s feet. These guys brought a bit more a punk influence than the first act (which would help explain the speed of their songs) and also some guitar shredding. The crowd loved these guys; circle pits and moshing ensued rather quickly and did not stop until the band walked off.
Providing direct support was yet another local act, The Panoramic. What I immediately noticed with these guys was their attention to the rhythms of their songs. For example, they started their first song with a tom-heavy drumbeat and carried that rhythm throughout the entirety of the song. What was impressive about this maneuver was that they did it very subtly so that each part sounded new, but you could faintly hear that rhythm showing itself again and again. Another very impressive aspect about this band was that their songs have an arc to them—a beginning, middle and end, if you will. Whereas too many bands seem to be stringing similar parts together to form somewhat static songs, the Panoramic take you on a musical journey, mixing up rhythms, key signatures and the overall mood of their songs. The great prize in all of this is that each of their songs has a climax, an earth-shattering part that commands the audience’s attention, striking them still. Anyone that was at the show will remember such moments occurring: they are unforgettable.
And then of course was Veil of Maya, who after the soft but eerie intro to “Subject Zero,” proceeded to decimate any sort of tranquility lingering about the room. Even with one guitarist, these guys sounded huge—monstrous, even. Anyone who frequently listens to their albums would have been more than satisfied with the live performance. Before the show I had my doubts as to how well the band could pull off their songs live. I mean, the bulk of their music is those super technical, awesome breakdowns which are clearly chopped (meaning the sounds of the guitars are cut off by the recording engineer for a staccato effect), so there is no way the guitarist could pull this off live, right? Wrong. All my doubts were obliterated when I realized that the guys in Veil of Maya are absolute masters of their songs; their precision in not only hitting notes on time but cutting off notes on time is really something to be marveled at. Put another way, if anyone other group of musicians tried to play VOM’s songs, it would not sound remotely the same. It is as if these guys have spent hours going through each note individually in order to learn how to play it just right. Honestly, these guys might be the tightest band I have ever seen, especially given the speed and intricacy of their music. And they were unrelentingly heavy. Their vocalist (who was terrific as a fill-in, by the way), almost never used time in between songs to speak to the crowd. The set was just song after song, breakdown after breakdown—seemingly endless metal mania. This of course really got the crowd energized as they again gave a performance of their own during the set, yelling out lyrics, throwing themselves at each other on the dance floor, jumping in perfect unison, etc. As Veil of Maya walked off stage after the roaring performance of “It’s Not Safe to Swim Today,” it was clear that they had really inspired an energy in everyone in that crowd, as people were quick to open their mouths to talk about the show.
The lineup was terrific, the crowd was terrific, and overall, I am overjoyed to see that Denver still has plenty of talent coming up in its local acts, and that the crowds are still so passionate about music.
Bodies We’ve Buried will playing again November 7th at Moe’s BBQ. The Panoramic will be at the Summit Music Hall November 21st for SkyBurial’s CD release show.
Found out more on each of the bands here: