By Billy Padmore
Release Date: 22nd June 2018
Label: Closed Casket Activities
If Vein’s Errorzone is not my hardcore album of the year, then either the genre is in for a real treat or something horrible has happened. Hell, it may even be a contender for my album of the year regardless of genre.
Prior to the release of Errorzone – the band’s debut full length – little was known about Vein. Between 2013 and 2017 the band released two short EPs and a split release, with none of them lasting longer than 10 minutes. Though last year’s split with .gif from god yielded a glimpse into the band’s chaotic style (albeit in under 5 minutes of music), it was not until Errorzone’s first single ‘Virus://Vibrance’ that audiences were exposed to the sheer mayhem that Vein present. Consequently, the hardcore scene eagerly awaited their next hit from the Boston band.
Drawing influence from 90’s nu-metal, Errorzone sounds like the sectioned offspring of Slipknot and Converge – if said child wrote hardcore music on a virus-riddled computer. Featuring breakbeat samples, pitch-shifted guitar shrieks and glitches galore, Vein have created the soundtrack to paranoid schizophrenia. With lyrical themes covering dark topics such as resisting psychopathic urges, self-harm and suicide, coupled with the tech-heavy song titles (‘Old Data in a Dead Machine’ and ‘Demise Automation’ are just two examples), it is clear that the band have a distinct vision. The album conjures an image of a digital-dominated dystopian future, where self-doubt and paranoia have created a dangerous cocktail with the futuristic age.
Currently, it seems commonplace for hardcore bands to promote mental health awareness, due to the increasing number of artists tragically taking their lives from their struggle. Some might argue that this would make Vein’s album seem somewhat insensitive, as it exploiting the image of mental instability to sell a product, but over 20 years prior Trent Reznor created the same image with The Downward Spiral. By indulging and exploring the dark thoughts one might experience, Vein have distanced themselves from the formulaic hardcore that dominates the scene, even more so with their distinct playing style. Furthermore, the lyrics aren’t promoting or glamorising mental instability, but rather sharing some of the thoughts one might have, most likely as a form of catharsis.
With regards to the album as a whole, Errorzone has a fantastic dynamic arc. The first six songs last less than two and half minutes each, and it is not until ‘Doomtech’ that we actually have a chance to breathe. Do not interpret this as the band letting up though; the longer, “slower” songs are still just as chaotic, proving that this strain of hardcore doesn’t rely on blisteringly fast tempos. None of the songs feature conventional structure, there isn’t a single chorus on the whole album, and with most tracks dancing around the 1-2 minute mark, the line between segue and full song are blurred, resulting in one of the most cohesive hardcore albums in recent memory. Boasting the production talents of Will Putney (could’ve sworn it was Ross Robinson…), Vein’s Errorzone will find itself rubbing shoulders with other modern greats such as Knocked Loose’s Laugh Tracks and Every Time I Die’s Low Teens. And by rubbing shoulders, I mean whispering conspiracy theories into their ears and asking them to help get the bugs out from under their skin (do albums have ears?).
With a debut album as strong as this, Vein deserve to explode. Give this band your attention now. You could be witnessing the rise of the next Slipknot.
Recommended track: ‘Virus://Vibrance’