V.E.I.N. – Blood Oaths


It’s been a long time since Blood Oaths’ 2013 demo cassette (…into The Vein) and the release of their eponymously-titled debut album. But when you consider Marcus “Slarcus” Frattura also plays with luminaries such as Blessed Offal, PanzerBastard and Deathamphetamine, it’s kind of understandable. For this solo project, Marcus goes by the moniker “Death Fiend” and it finds him taking on all the instruments to deliver an album in shape of Blood Oaths which dips a microphone into hell and records it for your delight and delectation.

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’ creates a dark and discombobulating air in a way that mere singing never 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 ‘Malign 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 fiery pits of Hades.

This album is akin to 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 Eibon’, for example, there’s a sample taken from an episode of Seinfeld (The Airport) but its 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’. It’s a ferocious slab of metal that mixes black, death and thrash; it places its boot on the listener’s throat and refuses to take it off over the course of seven-and-a-half blood-soaked minutes. It’s an epic closer, but on an album that deals in extremes, it is the only way to go.

Blood Oaths was originally released on vinyl last year (a pressing which soon sold-out), but it now gets a global release by Godz Ov War Productions, so it’s time for you to pledge your allegiance and take the Oath.

Track List:

  1. Total Vascular Collapse
  2. Malign Blood Oath
  3. The Black Eye Of Eibon
  4. Banishment Of Blood
  5. L.S.D.
  6. Sangre Libertad
  7. Warlocks, Witches and Demons
  8. Bloodstained Symmetry