That’s how Troy, Ohio’s Mayfly described the band in a recent Facebook post. Generally a term dodged by most every nu-metal band since 1995, Mayfly wear it proudly as they unleash their debut EP, Vereor Deus Non Dogma (Fear God Not Dogma). As a longtime nu-metal listener and fan, I expected heavy, down-tuned single-note riffs, dark melodies and grooving breakdowns – none of which I found. Instead, Mayfly brought driving, metalcore-tinged radio rock.
Not to say it isn’t competent by any means – Adam Thompson’s drumming is fantastic, singer Jared Lacey’s vocals are spot on and his choruses are catchy. Some of the better moments of Vereor hearken to a time when heavier radio rock was actually interesting, songs like “Skylights” and “Infidel Castro” feel like some of Incubus’ earlier material. The closing song (I think I’ll pretend the completely unnecessary remix at the end isn’t there) “Fiasco” is definitely the high point, akin to Around the Fur-era Deftones.
Unfortunately, much of this EP feels phoned-in. These guys definitely know how to write songs and play their instruments, but too much of it feels like a band that’s just trying to play a style (“nu-metal” to them), instead of trying to be interesting or fresh or push the genre. I feel like I’ve heard songs like “Jihad” (featuring Staple’s Darren Keim) and “Eternal Respiration” a thousand times before.
Not much new ground is being explored lyrically, but Mayfly is at their best when writing lyrics that are more introspective and poetic (“Skylights”) than overtly political or ideological (“Jihad” and “Infidel Castro”).
I think Mayfly has the chops and the skills to write a killer album, but in the end, this EP leaves the listener wanting much more. If I were Mayfly, I’d ditch the radio rock, tune my guitars down three steps, take my chops and write a heavy, grooving, real nu-metal record.
Until then, fans of Tooth and Nail’s heavier rock bands like Dead Poetic or Spoken will feel right at home listening to Vereor Deus, Non Dogma.