Famed for his work with symphonic metallers Epica, Mark Jansen ventures into altogether heavier stylistic territories with side project MaYaN. Jansen is joined by his former bandmate Jack Driessen of After Forever fame and drummer Arien van Weesenbeek from death metallers God Dethroned, but guests include Epica singer Simone Simons, ReVamp’s Floor Jansen, Sons Of Seasons’ Henning Basse and Italian opera talent Laura Macri.
Whilst his intentions see him maintain the symphonic elements that fans will be accustomed to with his primary project, there’s an ambitious medley of death metal, power metal and the occasional, unsuspected blackened riff.
Truth is, MaYaN are a not a first listen, first love band. Quarterpast takes at least a few listens to appreciate in order to become fully immersed in the rich diversity that’s on offer. When you do, you won’t regret it.
Mark Jansen’s compositions are as epic as they are complex making this one intense mixing pot. Symphony Of Aggression perfectly begins the album, both thematically and musically. MaYaN would probably be best summed up as a Symphony Of Aggression and it’s reflected with its progressive nature snaking into blackened death metal riffing, rabid blastbeats, low grunts and an adventitious addition of Simons’ lulling vocals.
A great start really gets better when fifth track The Savage Massacre ensues into a fury of symphonic death, only to burst through into a chorus that resembles more a power metal act than anything remotely harsh, before again transcending into an operatic interlude with a backdrop of proggy guitar picking. Be taken into a quirky carnival ride at the beginning of War On Terror, before allowing yourself to be taken in by the brutal verses that are again chock with diversity, even featuring a brief series of backing shouts that resemble a street punk yelp.
Truly worth taking the risk, Mark Jansen has created a unique entity that many will admittedly find hard to fathom. But wrap your head round it and you’ll benefit from what is a magnificently ambitious record.