Review: “Test Of Time” by Maziac

Having tasted the energy of writing, recording and performing with bands including Knievel Genius, Phineas Gage and Sisteray it’s safe to say London based Alternative Progressive Metal act Maziac are addicted lifers at this point. Forming in 2017 they made their live debut a year later and have since shared stages with Black Orchid Empire, Skarlett Riot and Exist Immortal to name but a few. 2019 brought debut album “Forged” but their biggest success so far has been 2021 EP “Permutations” which was mixed and mastered by Justin Hill (Sikth, Hacktivist, The Five Hundred). Critical acclaim alongside 81k of combined Spotify and YouTube streams for the title track alone served as a crowbar to prise open the door to the 10th anniversary of Tech-Fest in 2023 as well as Grim Fest in Cambridgeshire at the end of the year. Enjoying the perpetual forward motion, 2024 has seen the release of “Test Of Time“, a sophomore album mixed and mastered by Sam & Joe Graves of Innersound Audio (InVisions, Asking Alexandria)…

They say that one should never judge a book by its cover and in the case of Maziac that is very much true because while on the surface and in their self description they don’t come across as being a particularly heavy band, pummelling opening cut “Fear & Fortune” tells another story. A track with power and purpose which brings to mind “Leviathan” era Mastodon with the warm clean vocal parts, burly riffs and thunderous percussion. It’s however the nuances that make it intriguing with bursts of harsh vocals, harmonies and synth bleeds adding atmosphere all playing vital roles. Cut from the same cloth “Acid” builds on some of the more intricate riffs of the opening cut, while packing a rhythmic punch layered with weighty groove. Clean vocal harmonies between guitars Tony Best and Tim Stokes soar before descending into death growls, a melodic bridge with delicate leads adding a melancholic quality before the rhythm guitars punch back. As musicians the band aren’t afraid of longer instrumental passages to get people going which is refreshing because you know that if they had a big name producer in the studio there would be a push to reduce them and probably strip out some of the synths. Fortunately there isn’t because it’s the little things that make this really sing.

There is a familiar air to the opening refrains of “Ameliomantra” which takes us back to the 2001 self titled album from Orange County Alternative Post Metal act Downer with the way that the guitars are layered but this feels heavier and more determined. Another powerhouse track with pulsating rhythms and catchy lyrics that you’ll find yourself humming at some point down the line. Keeping the tempo high “Stoic” finds the band continuing to play with texture without loosing any of their flow. The crushing heavier guitar are parts broken up a wonderful bass driven instrumental passage in the final third that has an almost ethereal quality to it before the final chorus. A delicate piano piece digitally enhanced by programmed drumming gives instrumental “Decorating Time” a cinematic science fiction vibe and if it appeared in the latest episode of Dr Who then it wouldn’t be out of place. A palate cleanser which is well composed and well placed in the running order of the record, it could also happily serve as an introduction to the band taking the stage live.

Spacy Devin Townsend inspired vibes work really well in “Unseen“, a track heavily layers with synths while retaining the power in the guitar department. Fortunately a rap slash spoken word vocal moment doesn’t derail the train and may even grown on you with repeated listens because it doesn’t work the first time and feels like a bridge too far for the Maziac sound. That being said, what is life without risk or experiment? Boring, that’s what. A trip down the yellow brick road that is memory lane is offered up with Progressive mastery in “Nostalgia“, the track a conjoined twin never to be separated from “Splendour“. Sonically the last two tracks come across as a part #1 and part #2, the second cut being the heavier of the two. Majestic clean vocals are once again glorious, an unidentified female backing vocal adding a plot twist to the narrative that works very well. An Alternative Progressive Metal act with a glowing energy to them, this record should give them the opportunities they deserve [8/10]

Track Listing

  1. Fear & Fortune
  2. Acid
  3. Ameliomantra
  4. Stoic
  5. Decorating Time
  6. Unseen
  7. Nostalgia
  8. Splendour

Test Of Time” by Maziac is out 28th June 2024

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