Review Summary: I will always be wherever you are."I can't sleep now..."
a distressed woman calls out, a foreboding sense of dread fills the air. As the sky turns grey and lifeless, the air reeks of death and ashen remains. This world is bleak, an ever-growing shroud of darkness that consumes all in its path. Where there is little solace to be found in such a place, we may ask ourselves... why do we continue to press on this way? For the sake of our loved ones? As much as we might question the purpose of our existence, the answers will never come. This is the place where hopes and dreams come to die. Welcome to the human condition, welcome to hell on earth, Welcome Home.
Here we enter the domain of Boston Massachusetts' own, Vein. This group of five young gentlemen are no strangers to the world of hardcore. The band has been making waves in the underground since their promising 2013 debut self-titled EP. All of them just mere teenagers at the time, it was clear that these kids were hungry for violence since their humble beginnings. It wasn't until 2018 when the band's craft came full circle and they were ready to make their prescence known, exploding onto the scene with their earth shattering debut LP, Errorzone.
A vicious shot of adrenaline like no other, this energetic concoction of 90's-esque industrial and nu-metal tinged hardcore proved that these guys mean ***ing business.
Now, to prevent the inevitable eye rolling from delving deeper into the band's history lets fast forward a few years, shall we? 2020 came, COVID-19 ruined everyone's lives, yada-yada-yada. Whilst our world was seemingly burning to the ground, Vein was behind the scenes, quietly working on culminating the soundtrack to our current hellscape dystopia we call earth. The band's frustrating purgatorial state during the pandemic fueled what would soon be revealed as their highly anticipated sophomore LP, This World is Going to Ruin You.
Now finally, 2 years after completion of the recording process with the legendary Will Putney, TWIGTRY is finally here.
With all that being said, has the band lost any luster over the past 4 years since their eyeball eviscerating debut? Well... the first ten seconds of the introduction track "Welcome Home" should provide a reasonable response to that. Devastating, crushing, and uncompromisingly heavy would be putting it lightly. The band wastes absolutely no time as guitarist Jeremy Martin's savage riffs meld alongside drummer Matt Wood's face melting fills. "LET ME GO!" cries the shrill, wailing howls of vocalist Anthony DiDio as the song unfolds and builds into a teeth gritting breakdown that will make you want to bench press a sixteen wheeler and punch your grandmother simultaneously. As the song bleeds into the crowd killing lead single "The Killing Womb" and the schizophrenic episode of terror "Versus Wyoming" it may become clear to the listener that TWIGTRY is a different beast altogether. Much like Errorzone
, This World
is a cohesive journey from start to finish. However, its a much more dense and claustrophobic one at that. Gone are the amen breaks and nu-metal influence, enter a world of ugliness, hopelessness, and despair.
Not all is bleak in this world though. The album showcases a variety of incredibly fun and interesting curveballs, most notably the DJ scratches towards the end of "Inside Design" courtesy of newly found member Benno Levine, aka Venom Benzo. Bassist Jon Lhabouet's grizzly bear growls are also a welcome addition to the band's formula. Another track worthy of praise is the uplifting "Magazine Beach" featuring a unique sample of a girl singing "lose my mind!"
while Anthony displays his use of... *gasp* clean vocals! Don't worry though, they're actually good. If you're a fan of Deftones this song will certainly strike a chord with you. That isn't all though, the album features some familiar voices. One that may pique the interest of fans of the groundbreaking post hardcore band Thursday. That's right, Geoff Rickly is featured on the second single "Fear in Non Fiction" and his presence is certainly welcome. Coming in out of nowhere he fits the band's DNA perfectly and provides a very unique spin on the song. Fans of the underground cloud rap scene will also be interested to learn that the leader of the sesh gang BONES himself is featured on the hilariously titled "Orgy in the Morgue." Some may be disappointed to learn that he doesn't rap (thank goodness), but rather utilizes harsh vocals in a way he's never done before. Surprisingly enough, they work really well and his chemistry with Anthony is much to be admired.
Through all the chaos and discourse thrown at the listener, TWIGTRY is not without its moments of emotion and vulnerability. The conclusion of "Orgy" marks the final chapter of the album's heavy cuts, and so we then move on to the penultimate track, the third and final single "Wavery." A slow, brooding buildup of tension rises while Anthony's crooning vocals hover over Matt's crisp drumming and Jon's sludgy bass. A very unique track overall, even showcasing Matt's ability to pull off some nasty low vocals pleading "COME FIND ME!" Following this stunning slowburner, we have reached our final destination. The closing track, "Funeral Sound." A sad, slow piano melody develops into a release of emotion that sheds light on the band's vulnerability. This 7 minute epic will stop you in your tracks, and make you reflect on your journey so far. Was all this violence worthwhile? Has all of this anger and frustration given any catharsis? It is a somber, painful reminder of the emotional weight that we all carry inside. "I will always be wherever you are..."
Overall, TWIGTRY is an emotional, sprawling mass of darkness that will consume you if you get too close. While some may argue that the band has taken themselves a bit too seriously this time around, these five young torchbearers from Boston have proven once again that their flame is far from burnt out. Another solid step forward for them, and one that I hope will not be their last.