A decade is a long time between releases, and in the world of metal it’s almost an eternity. However, in the case of V.E.I.N. that gap is understandable as mastermind (and multi-instrumentalist) Marcus “Slarcus” Frattura also drums for luminaries such as Blessed Offal, Deathamphetamine and PanzerBastard. For this project he goes under the name Death Fiend and handles all instruments to produce an album in Blood Oaths that’ll coagulate round your memory bank and stick with you long after the disc has stopped spinning. It follows demo release …into The Vein by nine long years, but true to the old adage, good things do come to those who wait.
Using samples in metal is a very fine line to walk. It’s a difficult balancing act; too much and a band’s sound can become cluttered and constrained (listen to White Zombie, if you need further clarification) but used right they create an air of danger and enhance the atmospherics. V.E.I.N. definitely fall into the latter category and on opening cut ‘Total Vascular Collapse’ they create a dark and discombobulating air in a way that mere singing ever could. Questioning the very essence of human existence, they immediately place the listener in a querulous state of mind, meaning that when the instruments kick in, it is with some force. However, Death Fiend does provide vocals too, and on the following ‘Palgin Blood Oath’ they are multitracked (and mixed with samples) and the result is a grisly soundscape that’s akin to a thousand tortured souls crying out in anguish from the very depths of Hades.
This album is the sickest horror film you’ve ever seen, but just like the very best gory flicks, there’s some humour present (albeit of the darkest variety). On ‘The Black Eye Of Gibon’, for example, there’s a sample taken from an episode of Seinfeld (The Airport) but it’s cry of “Why, if I wasn’t in these shackles…” means something far more sinister when placed in this context. It’s a prime example of why this album will reward repeat plays; on first listen it might pass you by, what with your ears having to take so much in, but on each successive spin subtle nuances will bubble to the surface to dance a strange tattoo on your eardrum.
Blood Oaths undoubtedly benefits from being a one-man affair, and it gives each of these eight songs a singular focus. Every track is wound up tighter than a drum and this only adds to the overarching feeling of brutality. However, V.E.I.N. aren’t all about crushing brutality and ‘Liquid Sodomatic Death’is less dense and allows plenty of light to flood in. Sludgy, heavy and doomy, Kilslug were a great Boston band who deserved far more recognition, and hopefully that’ll come their way via this cover of ‘Warlocks, Witches and Demons’. As all good covers should, this V.E.I.N. version stamps its own mark on proceedings and makes a fine prelude to closing track ‘Bloodstained Symmetry’. On an album that offers no quarter, this is an epic conclusion, and one that will resonate with the listener long after the disc has stopped spinning.
Blood Oaths was originally released on limited vinyl last year (long sold out) but now gets an international release via those cool cats at Godz Ov War.
- Total Vascular Collapse
- Malign Blood Oath
- The Black Eye of Eibon
- Banishment Of Blood
- Sangre Libertad
- Warlocks, Witches and Demons
- Bloodstained Symmetry