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MaYan – Antagonise

With MaYan’s latest release “Antagonise” Mark Jansen makes a quite serious declaration of intent about what seemed to be “just” another side project. Having by his side a wonderful diverse ensemble of singers and musicians, Jansen is set to create a superband that can play and perform any music genre. Hence, the ravenous listeners will soon find that “Antagonise” is a compelling treasure chest of multiple music styles that wouldn’t necessarily fit on one album.
“Burn Your Witches” is easy to love as it presents a persuasive and consistent musical structure. There is a lot going on, maybe even too much, but it seems that Henning Basse’s vocals are strong enough to support the whole show. The guitar shredding, the catchy delivery and the friendly symphonic layout will easily please the listeners.
“Lone Wolf” seems to embrace more smoothly the death/symphonic mixture that incarnate the musical core of this album. Many will appreciate Mark Jansen’s brutal growls, but Henning Basse is again the center of attention in terms of interpretation skills and obviously his vocal style better suits the dominant melodic nature of this track.
“Devil In Disguise” features a majestic theatrical interpretation by Henning Basse that brings to mind the notorious recipe behind Trans Siberian Orchestra’s performances. In fact, besides the prog oriented guitar work, the whole grandiose orchestration is a focal asset on this song.
“Insano” is the emotionally charged classical operetta that might not exactly fit the whole music pathway showcased on the rest of the album and might feel like just an interlude. Nevertheless, Laura Macrì’s impeccable performance is definitely worth the listeners’ undisputed attention.
“Human Sacrifice” (definitely a title that evokes a more raw inspiration) might as well feel a bit out of place as an old school death metal spirit seems to posses Jansen’s performance and songwriting. There are still some majestic keyboards arrangements in a typical symphonic fashion, the beloved operatic female vocals and even clean male vocals. But when all these delightful changes take over the scene the transition is not as smooth as it should/could be.
A very similar situation appears on “Faceless Spies” which revolves around bursts of angry paranoid death metal vocals and rhythm and the, sort of interesting yet awkward, classical keyboards. Amidst this styles confusion, a highly fascinating and absolutely flawless violin solo successfully brings a luminous harmony.
In the end, the whole concept of smoothly intertwining the primitive energy of extreme metal and elegant magic of symphonic/operatic music feels like an overwhelming task to achieve at once. The result is that “Antagonise” might stand out for its fearless exploration of the unlimited potential of music but it doesn’t keep all those shiny promises of songwriting innovations.

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