By Lauren Leuschner
The long awaited side project of Epica’s Mark Jansen has finally arrived. MaYan released their debut album “Quarterpast” this past May. When I first found out about MaYan, I had high expectations for a new band consisting of well-known and respected musicians. With an all-star cast featuring members of Epica, After Forever and Obscura, two of which Jansen is a founding member, my ears were open and ready.
It’s pretty clear that this band derived from Epica. It sounds like they really could have had something phenomenal with a little more time spent tweaking, but honestly it just sounds like Epica part two with a little more aggression. It was also pretty expected that Simone Simons (Epica) would make a guest vocal appearance on the record, which she does on five of its twelve tracks.
Quarterpast, described as ‘symphonic death metal opera’, is a relentlessly heavy album. Stylistically this is a real melting pot. The compositions of the album seem to still blend well with the (many) completed vocals, whether it be the brutal vocals of Mark Jansen, the clean vocals of Henning Basse (Sons of Seasons) , or the female vocals of Simone Simons (Epica), Amanda Somerville (ex-Epica), Floor Jansen (After Forever) or Laura Macri. The vocalists do sort of a ‘trade-off’ as if they’re reading a script which doesn’t flow very well and seems as more of an intrusion as your just getting into the song.
While most of the time it seems that this new collaboration is trying to do twenty things at the same time, and doesn’t quite fit together 100%, Quarterpast does have moments when everything comes together and does exactly what they set out to do. It may take a few spins to really grasp it, but Quarterpast has enough major virtues making the effort worthwhile. Hopefully, if Mayan does decide to put out a second album they can smooth out the creases.