The Veils
Total Depravity


4.2
excellent

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
August 26th, 2016 | 428 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: From a poisoned well.

Total Depravity is Finn Andrews’ dark night of the soul, but Andrews is certainly not interested in seeking a union with God at journey’s end. The Veils’ frontman is much more the type to slither and moan, dragging himself along through a hellscape of his own making, dripping with blood and bile and haunted by the shrieks of old ghosts. Drama has always been the Veils’ stock in trade, and Andrews its raging id and black hat-adorned soothsayer; this is a man, after all, who debuted in 2004 with the lines “your knives are sharp / when you put them in my heart / though the truth, you’d say / is I like them there that way.” If there’s a band that could write a single about a Mexican walking salamander sound like a summoning call to some demon, vocals shredded and distorted, backed by an apocalyptic swell of horns and a feral guitar, and have it not be absolutely pretentious and/or ridiculous – well, that’s sort of what the Veils do best. On Total Depravity, they wear that black hat perhaps better than they ever have before.

Beginning with that Renaissance-via-Argento album art and the twisted, thoroughly disturbing music video for “Axolotl,” right through to the closer’s defiantly Nick Cave-ian impression, the Veils maintain a consistent mood here that can best be described as beautifully tortured. It’s less of a change in sound for the group and more a careful application of the right textures, namely something scaly and harsh, bursts of electronics and guitars that wail. It’s a fitting accompaniment to Andrews’ usual fire and brimstone, which is in rare form here. On “King of Chrome,” the finest example of his particular storytelling style and a cathartic slow burn in the mold of fan favorite “Jesus for the Jugular,” Andrews makes what is easily the most exciting song ever about long-haul truck drivers, in this case one who may or may not be a sociopathic murderer or unholy revenant of some sort. A lyric like “he drinks elixir from a plastic cup” would elicit laughs in any other context, but Andrews’ talent is in selling you on the imagery, making you feel the darkness rushing by, the crushing solitude a real and dangerous weight. The bubbling synths and a bass line that threaten a thunderstorm certainly help, and producer El-P deserves serious credit for tinkering with the Veils’ aesthetic to add noticeable changes to their sound that nevertheless sound like they’ve been a part of the band forever. El-P is an inspired if odd choice – the haunting touches he brings to tracks like the forlorn, dusty “In the Blood” and the soulful beats on the swooning “Swimming with the Crocodiles” are unobtrusive but essential. “Here Comes the Dead,” meanwhile, is perhaps their best marriage, an aggressive rhythm that rumbles along to Andrews’ vocals while a violent guitar riff swoops in like a swarm of hornets.

While it doesn’t quite reach the songwriting highs and wrenching lows of 2006’s Nux Vomica (few things do), Total Depravity avoids the dead spots that have plagued the Veils’ last two records by ensuring that atmosphere of dread remains consistent. Even the gorgeous ballad “Iodine & Iron,” a lush version of the bare-bones acoustic track from 2011’s Troubles of the Brain EP, is a love song in the past tense: “Love, you’re stripping me down, like turpentine / still you wait for me / then you leave no trace / yeah you wait for me / soon I’ll be erased.” The somewhat jaunty “House of Spirits” revolves around a shimmering guitar line and Andrews’ somewhat jumbled, off-kilter delivery, but it’s all burned-out homes and voices in the walls, as if Andrews’ mind is working double-time to get all these horrific images out of his head and he can’t help but trip over his own tongue. “I can see you in my nightmares / I can see you in my dreams / honey, everything I strive for / ain’t what it seems,” Andrews sings on “Do Your Bones Glow At Night,” his voice buried under effects, and it’s this teetering mental state that permeates Total Depravity’s narratives of sin and sensuality, giving it its thrill and a monstrous heart prone to explode at any moment. It’s a combination that is hopeless and raw, transforming an almost corrosive despair into something sexy and deliriously, deliciously wrong. Few bands can balance this turmoil with purpose and direction; fewer frontmen still can make it seem like a trip you want to take, again and again.




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user ratings (117)
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
anatelier (5)
Put the kids to bed – here come the dead....


Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
August 26th 2016


12185 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

"Low Lays the Devil" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORnMuapvrCM



best Veils since Nux Vomica without a doubt

Digging: Chromatics - Closer to Grey

wwf
August 26th 2016


6455 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good review. just listened to the commentary for this album and I feel like all I learned is that the frontman likes drawing crocodiles lmao

Digging: Faye Webster - Atlanta Millionaires Club

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 26th 2016


12185 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

lol what? is there a link for this

wwf
August 26th 2016


6455 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

there's a commentary of the album on tidal and spotify, not sure if it's on the other streaming services.

guitarded_chuck
August 26th 2016


18035 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i like the production but its pretty basic / borderline boring imo

cvlts
August 26th 2016


9641 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I can't get over how awesome that album cover looks.

Digging: Gatecreeper - Deserted

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 26th 2016


12185 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

i don't think the production is revolutionary or anything, but it's a nice change from (in particular) their sort of similar last two albums and fits the aesthetic here quite well

AaroN911
August 26th 2016


2607 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That album art is amazing for sure

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
August 27th 2016


26078 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Iodine & Iron is fucking FANTASTIC

Digging: Arnaut Pavle - Arnaut Pavle

mallen-
August 27th 2016


1241 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

YES



Totally forgot about this.



Edit: Iodine & Iron IS amazing

Veldin
August 27th 2016


3874 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

such an incredible listening experience. Awesome review, mate!

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 27th 2016


12185 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

thanks! nice to see a veils album getting some traction around here

ABond
August 27th 2016


328 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The opener, the closer, Low Lays The Devil, Swimming With Crocodiles, Iodine & Iron, and House Of Spirits are all amazing.

Great record all in all. Probably my aoty contender along with Bowie's "Blackstar"

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
August 27th 2016


26078 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Randomly jammed this even though it's not usually my thing, but it's really great. Fantastic review too.

LotusFlower
August 27th 2016


12000 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

so this rocks

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 27th 2016


8457 Comments


Jamming this right now, and it's great.

Digging: Dead Shed Jokers - All The Seasons

zakalwe
August 27th 2016


28753 Comments


I'm getting a feeling about this album. Something special here.

InfamousGrouse
August 27th 2016


4339 Comments


title and artwork seem to point towards a death metal record

BallsDeep
August 27th 2016


4645 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol i was expecting some blackened death metal album too well i got a surprise, im not sure if i would call it a pleasant one though

JohnnyoftheWell
Contributing Reviewer
August 27th 2016


16528 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"While it doesn’t quite reach the songwriting highs and wrenching lows of 2006’s Nux Vomica (few things do), Total Depravity avoids the dead spots that have plagued the Veils’ last two records by ensuring that atmosphere of dread remains consistent."



HYPED HYPED HYPED I cannot wait to get my hands on this. Such a great band, nice review too ;]

Digging: Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Ghosteen



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