Mayak – Allegiance to None

Now here’s an interesting mix from Bielefeld, Germany.  In this modern era, you have the pontifiers of the classique, those who refuse to quit the age-old style of various genres, content with appealing to a rather stagnant fan base.  In addition to that camp you have the truly unique, those who often create a wide gap of love and hate, with fans on one side crying the glory of their newness and on the other side those saying it’s all a big gimmick.  In between these two veins you have those skirting both territories, working angles, mixing, melding, and pulling it together for something more chasm-bridging than most.  It’s a tricky territory to tread, but possible, if the band in question has at least enough potential to get started.  Mayak are still relatively unknown act, but they make claim on as many territories as the Four Corners does American states.  Sludge, black metal, hardcore punk, thrash, is it true?  Can it all be there?  Let’s take a taste of their latest, Allegiance to None, and find the hell out.


Let’s get out the goodness first, as we are wont to do around here typically.  Mayak presented this one first as a self-released, pro-packaged CD-R, and just recently as a sweet, green vinyl package from Sell Your Soul Records.  Take your pick there, though most of you will probably go vinyl because you’re too hip for discs.  Now then, musically speaking there’s quite a bit going on here, so Mayak’s right in their Facebook genre suggestions and Bandcamp tags.  It’s practically impossible to completely gauge them from a single song, in fact singularly one song to the next can almost sound like a different band at times if it weren’t for the solid production.  Where these guys shine are some magnificent moments of riff poundage and style.  The middle of the title track, for example, has the kind of blistering, addictive qualities you expect out of better hardcore punk, “Jagdgründe” has some tasty blackness and frost-covered angst midway, and others like “Digging Holes in Frozen Seas” has some great thrash tidbits to sample on a toothpick as you scan through the rest of what they offer.


However, Allegiance to None hints at the greatest problem of this release in the meaning of the title itself.  If you compare this new full-length to Mayak’s earlier self-titled EP, there’s a difference.  Aside from the fact that we’re comparing several songs to only four, there is a strong lack of genre cohesion here, simply because so many styles have been mixed together, but the reason for the sensation of separation is quite unusual.  Strangely their shifting from one genre to the next is often seamless, but still noticeably different in style when a black metal, frost-bitten-hail-Satan blast beat to a hardcore punk oi-your-Converses-in-the-air-ye-lads breakdown.  Somewhere between their first one, and this one, they seem to have lost that complexity of mixing, sacrificing stability for higher production values and more oomph, though those are definitely good things.  It’s the only complaint to be had, there needs to be more of an integration of style here, it’s not fully there yet, it’s something like a child learning to walk, they tried to quickly to get to the mosh pit after only a few steps.  However, it goes without saying, these guys have something building, it’s there, give it a release or two, if that, and you should see great things from them.  And more great stickers, please, we like that.


Mayak Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Mayak – Allegiance to None
Self-Released, Sell Your Soul Records
4.1 / 5