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MaYaN – Antagonise

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Mayan - AntagoniseIf you’re not familiar with MaYaN , they are the side-project of Epica guitarist Mark Jansen.  For the first album (Quarterpast) he was joined by several colleagues from Epica and other musicians as well as a number of guest vocalists including Floor Jansen (Revamp, Nightwish), Henning Basse (sons of seasons), Simone Simons (Epica) and Italian opera singer Laura Macri.  Musically MaYaN are much heavier than Epica, and rather than being symphonic metal, are symphonic Death metal.  Unlike in Epica, Mark doesn’t play guitar in MaYaN but instead just focusses on vocals.
Now onto the second album, Henning Basse and Laura Macri have become full members of the band.

The album has a definite concept – it’s all about the current situation in the world where governments spy on the people and use fear to impose ever more restrictions on us, controlling the people under the pretence of protecting them.  So you’ve got great subjects there for lyrics, and the vocals are great too.  You’ve got Mark Jansen doing his death metal growling style vocals, Henning Basse doing clean power-metal style vocals and Laura Macri doing operatic vocals.  Mark Jansens’s growling vocals and Henning Basse’s vocals are the main ones used in the album, and the combination works really well.

The album kicks off with “Bloodline forfeit”.  It’s a slightly strange opening – the drums and guitars sound for the first five or ten seconds quite hollow and distant, and I was just starting to wonder if something was wrong when the song proper kicked in with a rich solid sound.  A great track, even if I’m still not keen on those opening seconds after several listens.

I think the whole album is incredibly strong, but a personal favourite is “Redemption – The Democracy Illusion” where the keyboards work so well against the backdrop of powerful guitar riffs.

“Insano” is a quiet song with acoustic guitar and some beautiful vocals from Laura Macri which start off quite gently before the soaring operatic vocals start.  It’s a real change from the more aggressive and far heavier tracks on the album but the change of pace really emphasises how heavy the rest of the album is as the next song, “Human Sacrifice” kicks in at full power and really jolts the listener back to reality.

An excellent album that’s highly recommended.

Rating: 5/5

Antagonise will be released on 31st January 2014 on Nuclear Blast.

Track listing:

1. Bloodline forfeit
2. Burn your witches
3. Redemption – The democracy illusion
4. Paladins of Deceit – National Security Extremism part 1
5. Lone wolf
6. Devil in disguise
7. Insano
8. Human sacrifice
9. Enemies of freedom
10. Capital punishment
11. Faceless spies – National Security Extremism part 2

MaYaN are:

Mark Jansen
Henning Basse
Laura Macri
Jack Driessen
Frank Schiphorst
Rob van der Loo
Ariën van Weesenbeek

Ant May
I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.