Wilco : Our small country delivers large quantities of top metal albums every year, and in this lot the name MaYan isn’t exactly a stranger. The band of (former) members of (amongst others) After Forever, Orphanage, Epica, ReVamp and VUUR have already delivered two very strong albums. In essence, this is no longer a project, but a real band. This is a band with a huge line-up though: thirteen men and women are responsible for the music on this record. A new album with the meaningless title ‘Dhyana’. Where the previous albums had a largely political content, this album is more focused on our psyche and self-reflection.
Well, the expectations were pretty high when I started this album. Referring to my introduction I can say that this album also breaks with the basic attitude described above. For this album really everything has been pulled out to make an album which really impresses. Not only does the band consist of thirteen musicians, of which six(!) vocalists, but they have asked the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra to give this album the wanted grandeur as well. This orchestra knows about metal through their previous collaborations with Dimmu Borgir, Therion, Blind Guardian, Devin Townsend and of course Star Wars, and they even have a page on Metal Archives.
Let's hope that all those pompous, pretentious measures have led to a memorable piece of music. My expectations were tempered at first glance because opener 'The Rhythm Of Freedom', though it is a strong tune, does not really give me shivers. In addition, 'Dhyana' and 'Satori' are not very sensational, radio-friendly ‘fillers’. Luckily we have eight more songs to save the album. And damn, they do! I have been following this band for a while, but that is not why I am completely overwhelmed. Also the fact that it is a Dutch product has nothing to do with it. This is the best album of this band so far and this year. It is almost unbearably good what happens on this album. The sound is fantastic, all instruments are clear as a whistle, but the album has no digital sound. And the orchestra, sometimes with choir, complements the music tremendously. The orchestrations do not dominate but dance a perfect dance with the metal.
The best pickles in the jar are of course the six vocalists: two grunters, two clean male singers and two female singers (rock/soprano). Of course I do not have to explain that there is a lot of variation here. Description? Progressive as Genesis, bombastic and theatrical as Rhapsody of Fire, brutal as Hypocrisy, filthy and savage as Naglfar and blunt like Bolt Thrower. I shit you not. The songs on this album bounce from symphonic metal with sopranos and choirs to brutal death metal and abrasive rasping black. And I do actually mean brutal. Not like a gothic band that has a grunter, no this is really about blasts, up tempo with very brutal grunts and screams. And then the alternation with the four types of clean vocals is really fantastic. You might think that this is a band that does not know what it wants and then just mixes 45 genres together. But that is exactly what makes this album stand out: it sounds like a very solid one.
MaYan raises the bar even further for all other bands, but also for themselves, for I do not see how this could be surpassed. Apart from the mentioned 'fillers', every song on this album is a masterpiece, a musical, a complaint, an eruption of violence and a warm blanket of beauty. If you still want recommendations then I think the songs on the second half of the album are just a bit more extreme than in the first half. Take your pick. This is another genre-transcending album where almost every metal fan who loves the brutal and melodic work should definitely check out.