MaYaN - Antagonise

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Mark Jansen clearly doesn't want to stop writing new albums, as a second MaYaN album comes not only a short three years after the first, but also not long after the last Epica album and in a year that will see a sixth album from his main band. The album sees former guest vocalists Henning Basse and Laura Macri join as permanent members, and whilst Nightwish's Floor Jansen continues to guest, the loss of Simone Simons and Isaac Delahaye should theoretically make this album less like Epica than its predecessor. Theory be damned though, because Antagonise may as well be Epica with a male power metal singer instead, and despite Mark's prominent growl, this is much more in the symphonic metal bracket than MaYaN's more aggressive and chaotic debut. That might be a boon for some listeners, but it does feel less interesting as an album as a result. Instead this feels more like a solid Sons of Seasons album – plenty of enjoyable symphonic metal tracks to enjoy in the background, with the odd memorable hook here and there, but hardly a breakthrough album. Also of note are the lyrics, which seem more forced and trite than normal – whilst subjects like capital punishment and gun control are interesting, they feel a bit forced coming from a Dutch artist. Political commentary on US politics comes across as more genuine and meaningful from those within the US; here it comes across as simply ripping lyrics from current headlines, simple understanding of well known issues instead of genuinely interesting, thought-provoking and involved lyrics from closer to home. There's nothing to disagree with, it is just that MaYaN's commentary provides nothing new, and that weakens the album. Still, all things said, whilst Antagonise does often come across as a collection of Epica reject songs, they still sound like Epica songs. That makes it a reasonably worthwhile album and still a far better album than most others in its genre.

Written by James Donovan
More: 2014, Albums, Quick.Play Reviews, Symphonic,

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