Symphonic death metal is not something we often hear these days, but that's exactly what MaYaN delivers on their debut Quarterpast, and more. MaYaN is the new side project of Epica's Mark Jansen, and also features ex-After Forever keyboard player Jack Driessen, Symmetry guitarist Frank Schiphorst, bassist Jeroen Paul Thesseling (Pestilence, Obscura), drummer AriŽn van Weesenbeek (Epica, ex-God Dethroned), and guitarist Isaac Delahaye (Epica, ex-God Dethroned). Quarterpast also includes guest vocals on a few tracks by Floor Jansen (ReVamp, ex-After Forever), Simone Simons (Epica), Henning Basse (Sons of Seasons) and one of Italy's most popular opera singers, Laura Macrž. MaYaN hired the Gate Studios with renowned producer Sascha Paeth to complete the album, and as you can imagine the results are quite good. Rob van der Loo (ex-Sun Caged, ex-Delain) came in after the recording to replace Thesseling, whose prior committments to his other bands permitted him from any live performing with MaYaN.
The music on Quarterpast is quite heavy, yet melodic, with plenty of symphonic keyboard orchestrations playing off the heavy riffs, pounding rhythms, growling death metal vocals, black metal shrieks, and clean female & male vocals. Think Edge of Sanity meets Epica meets After Forever meets Bloodbath meets Dimmu Borgir and you have an idea of what is going on here. "Symphony of Aggression" opens things up in bombastic fashion, with Jansen's growls quite effective on this pummeling cut. "Mainstray Of Society (In The Eyes Of The Law: Corruption)" features some complex guitar sections and lots of heavy riffing to go along with the symphonic parts, and the female vocals play off the growls nicely. I do need to mention that there are so many vocal styles going on here at all times, which really gives each song an exciting, varied flavor. Just when you think a song is going down death metal territory, some black metal screams, angelic female vocals, or soaring power metal passages come into play. There's an epic feel to most songs, which you can plainly hear in full on "Course of Life" and "The Savage Massacre (In The Eyes Of Law: Pizzo)", both which boast huge riffs and dynamic keyboard orchestrations, and the sizzling "Celibate Aphrodite" mixes Dimmu Borgir styled black metal theatrics with Pantera/Symphony X influenced guitar riffing.
Quarterpast is easily one of the most surprising and successful metal debuts of 2011. There's something for everyone here, whether you like death metal, black metal, power metal, symphonic metal, progressive metal, or gothic metal, it's all here. Let's hope Mark Jansen & Co. find the time to continue on with this project in the future when their schedules from their main bands permit.
- Symphony Of Aggression
- Mainstray Of Society (In The Eyes Of The Law: Corruption)
- Course Of Life
- The Savage Massacre (In The Eyes Of Law: Pizzo)
- Essenza Di Te
- Bite The Bullet
- Drown The Demon
- Celibate Aphrodite
- War On Terror (In The Eyes Of The Law: Pentagon Papers)
- Sinner's Last Retreat (Deed Of Awakening)