Review Summary: as gnarly as it looks
They say not to judge an album by it’s cover, but that’s easier said than done when the cover is an exposed eyeball being picked apart by a variety of metal tools. To that end, Vein have shown themselves to be nothing less than committed to their aesthetic, crafting a lean, violent and unrelenting slab of metalcore in Errorzone
that sounds every bit as gnarly as it looks.
is, without question, one of the most aggressive metalcore albums to come out in recent years. It spasms about uncontrollably, guitars shrieking in-between the occasional blast beat and vocalist Anthony DiDio’s gruesome screams. Converge, Botch and The Number Twelve Looks Like You are the easy comparisons here, but hearing these songs, there’s just as much taken from— don’t gag— nu-metal. The last few years have seen an uptick of “industrial” sounding metalcore bands, many haphazardly phoning in relics of bands like Slipknot and Korn in an attempt to put a new spin on the old classics. Vein may be the first to sound like they actually know what they’re doing.
What’s most impressive about the band is how they’re able to take the parts of nu-metal that are so dated and out of style— breakbeat drum samples, bouncy down-tuned riffs, edgy lyrics— and completely make them their own through sheer force of will. “Every time I close my eyes/I crash a thousand cars/and all my loved ones die” is such a groan worthy lyric out of context, but inside the claustrophobic, feedback-laden world of album highlight “Doomtech”, it fits like hand in glove. This sound just shouldn’t work, but they make it work in the same way Ricky Bobby plugs Big Red by saying “if you don’t chew Big Red, then *** you”.
It’s rare for an album only 27 minutes in length to feel exactly as long as it needs to be, but these songs are just packed to the point that anything more would feel like overkill. Thankfully, Errorzone
is immaculately paced; between the dissonant off-time riffs, the mangled breakdowns, and the aforementioned breakbeat interludes, Vein rarely stick with one sonic element for more than a minute at a time, which ends up working out very much to their benefit. When they even dip their toes into melodic waters, it's just enough to not be annoying; the soaring and melodic clean vocal break in the album’s title track is so breathtaking BECAUSE it’s the only such occurrence on the album.
Vein are cold and unforgiving. They will knock you down, give you a swirly, and take your lunch money. Plenty of bands can do that, yes, but it rarely feels as righteous as Vein have made it feel on this record. Errorzone
is as raw as it is industrialized, as passionate as it is calculating, and as alive as it is dead behind the eye(s).