MaYaN - Antagonise review


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Band: MaYaN
Album: Antagonise
Release date: January 2014

01. Descry [bonus]
02. Bloodline Forfeit
03. Burn Your Witches
04. Redemption ~ The Democracy Illusion
05. Paladins Of Deceit ~ National Security Extremism Part 1
06. Lone Wolf
07. Devil In Disguise
08. Insano
09. Human Sacrifice
10. Enemies Of Freedom
11. Capital Punishment
12. Faceless Spies ~ National Security Extremism Part 2

Mark Jansen seemed keen to distance himself from his main band as much as possible with Antagonize. The symphonic arrangements in the new Mayan effort are closely guarded and controlled, which distinguishes the band's sound from Epica further than ever before. While the debut album certainly found its similarities to the mother band, Antagonize is, in theme and sound, much more of a straightforward melodic death metal album.

Despite all of its differences it's also much less interesting. Quarterpast was a case of complexity vs. convolution; complex in its attempt to write death metal more tangibly into Epica song structures. Convoluted for the same reason, as it represented an engaging yet somewhat disjointed sequence of aggressive death metal scattered throughout a melodic and fresh rendition of the symphonic style Jansen was most familiar with. What we find in this new album is remarkably divorced from the style that both Mayan and Epica fans were expecting.

Antagonize is structured more on death metal's terms, and opts for more of the crushing wall of the genre on many occasions, usually managed with melodic twists and turns. The symphonic arrangements aren't only met by equal measures of this death metal, but said death metal becomes the primary element, granting the album obvious rigidity. Solid, in a word. This new album is rigid and cohesive in comparison to the previous release, and perhaps too much so.

Most remarkably the back seated symphonic components don't run flowingly throughout the record, but seem to be brought in to act as a supportive element and something used to create melodic movement in the death metal. The rigid sound I described often comes across as inflexible and monotonous, although it is generally easier to follow than the debut effort. It's only when the symphonic aspect isn't completely overcompensated by the clear focus on death metal guitar work that things flow more readily.

Antagonize is marred by repetitive guitar lines that plod and meander with little variation and pay-off. Sure they may seem strong enough upon immediate delivery, but in the long run the writing here is largely unmemorable, perhaps a few scattered segments and riffs offering anything for recollection.

The primary problem is that this album attempts to retain the operatic and conceptually explorative environment of the debut, yet it stylistically departs from it. Divergent initiatives seem to be at play here, where the thematic focus comes off as second best behind the push for a sound more akin to death metal. This makes Antagonize seem awkward and unsure of its own direction, even if it is competently performed.

Antagonize works best when symphony is aligned more closely with death metal, which is also when it's at its most melodically driven. Otherwise there is a lot of this album which sounds flat, linear and uninspired, even with a new approach in mind.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 8
Production: 8


Written on 12.04.2014 by R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.


Comments: 7   Visited by: 195 users
13.04.2014 - 03:11
Sad, I thoroughly enjoyed this album
13.04.2014 - 05:19
This album sucks. I expected more with that lot of people.
13.04.2014 - 16:27
I enjoy this album as well and don't agree with this review. Never listened to Epica before so I don't care if Mayan compares to it or not To me it's worth a solid 7.5
13.04.2014 - 17:50
I enjoy this album quite a lot, more than the previous one... It's a 6.5 or 7 for me, a solid album.
13.04.2014 - 18:23
High Fist Prog
Summed up in one word: boring. Mayan has failed us...
16.04.2014 - 23:54
6.2 Seriously? I can't agree with the review or any of the negative comments about this album. Everything about it is amazing, a contender for album of the year in many peoples minds. The band have set a new standard for Symphonic Metal. I also wish all the Epica comparisons would stop, they are 2 totally different bands, judge each one on their own merits & stop commenting negatively about a band just for the sake of it
17.04.2014 - 06:17
Written by MyStErIa on 16.04.2014 at 23:54

6.2 Seriously? I can't agree with the review or any of the negative comments about this album.

Yes, and I have no expectations of your agreement. I've noticed that the reactions to this album have been mixed at best, some have had more negative views of the album than others. Some have been overly positive and praiseworthy (in my view) where it isn't warranted. That's my opinion, which isn't being negative for the sake of being negative. It's being negative because I find flaws in this album, and don't enjoy it as much as you do.

I can't agree with it setting a new standard, the song writing is nowhere near good enough for that.

My comparison is actually pertaining more to the previous MaYan album than to Epica, just to clarify.

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