Sunday, 7 April 2013

Black Veins - The Cycle Will Cease To End 7"


I've been eagerly awaiting this seven inch for a while. I first saw Black Veins when they played at Royal Park Cellar alongside Hexis, This Gift Is A Curse and Razoreater. I'd been aware of them prior to that gig but seeing them live, in a dark and tiny pub cellar sealed the deal for me. I picked up the seven inch earlier this year from Speedowax, who released it and was also lucky enough to be able to interview the band about it and about their live shows with some big names, as well as future plans. Check it out below:- 

So we’re closing in on the end of year, what have been your highlights so far? 

Gig wise we’d have to say touring Europe with Oblivionized was a highlight, in particular the Belgium date. We also got the opportunity to play with some bands we all like including Coke Bust, Worm Rot, Weekend Nachos, Full of Hell, Sick Fix and Leng T’che. None performance based highlights would have to be recording our first 7” and completing our line up with Jim. 

You’re currently recording/mixing a new record. How is that going and when do plan to release it? 

The recording process ran smoothly, we recorded all the drums and bass live together to capture a live and organic feel and then layered guitars and vocals on top. We went to Jonny Hands from Flatout Studios on Great Barr, Birmingham. He’s the man. The record was released in February of this year through Speedowax, who will also be releasing our full length LP in the wintertime of this year (which we’re currently in the process of writing). 

I really enjoyed your set with Hexis/This Gift Is A Curse in Leeds last month. Do you like playing in front of certain crowds/at certain gigs and what reactions have you been getting at the gigs you’ve played so far? 

Cheers, it was a fun night. In terms of certain crowds, we don’t mind really, we just get a kick out of playing. We’ll happily play anywhere with anyone 

You played a festival earlier in the year with Severe Torture and Leng T’che amongst others, in Europe. How did that come about because it looked brutal? Did you get a good response? 

Zac of Oblivionized fame helped us get onto that bill. The response for us was a lot more positive than all of us had expected. We opened the day and went down pretty well, despite not fitting the bill that well musically. 

I’ve also got to ask you how the gigs with Wormrot went? 

In true Black Veins tradition, pretty much every piece of equipment fell to bits during our set. Wormrot were punishing live, in the best possible way, and really down to earth as people. There was a free buffet for the bands, which was cool. 

You’ve got a lot of gigs booked in at the moment. Can you tell us a bit about your plans and who you’ll be playing with and where? 

The stand out gigs at the moment are the ones with Leng T’che, Integrity and Magrudergrind. In terms of live plans, we’re hoping to play another run of UK dates over the summer and maybe Europe again towards the end of 2013. 

What influences you as a band, musically or otherwise? 

As a collective, the main influences for Black Veins are: PG. 99, Iron Lung, Tragedy, Masakari and Neurosis. There are too many none musical influences, but if you look at our lyrics you can probably grasp the majority of them. 

Birmingham has a long rock history, thanks to bands like Black Sabbath and Napalm Death, but what is the scene like there now and what are you thoughts on the UK scene in general? 

Birmingham will always be a very metal city due to its history, so naturally the metal scene will always be healthy band wise. There is a punk scene as well with bands like Fuck Right Off who put a lot of pv/grind/crust stuff on. With the UK scene in general there seems to be a lot of bands popping up at the moment, which we are into. 

Are there any new bands from you local that people should be listening too? 

Hordes, Selfless, Fuck Right Off, Opium Lord, Ace bushy Strip Tease, IO, Meatpacker, Hooked on Christ, New Alaska, Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam. Keep an eye on the Speedowax releases too.

 

Now onto the record itself. It was pressed in two different colour-ways with three different cover variants. As you can see from my shoddily taken picture above, I got both colour-ways with two different colour covers. The other colour cover is the one you see at the top of this feature. There's five tracks on the record too, so you know you're getting something more like an EP, as opposed to a single.

Tracklist:-

1. To Break Their Control
2. The Cycle Will Cease To End
3. Stone Sun
4. Collapse
5. The Cruel Mind of Man/Through The Depths of Reality


Putting this on the turntable instantly takes me back to that show. The sludge filled intro to To Break Their Control followed by the dual shouting filled your ears. When the grooving drums kick in mid-way through, the song briefly changes direction before plunging back into sludgy depths. The Cycle Will Cease To End plays more to Black Veins chaotic grind inspired influences. Those low screams are harrowing and sit perfectly next to their more chaotic sound.

The production of the seven-inch does well to bring out the lively nature of Black Veins live sound. I like the fact that while the music may sound harsh and heavy on first listen, the guitars actually feature a lot of subtle melody and aren't distorted to hell. This is the case in Stone Sun. One thing they certainly manage to do is capture the essence of their Black Country home. With a scene so rich in history and still growing, Birmingham seems to have a sound of it's own and Black Veins have taken that to heart by playing a fusion of hardcore/grind/sludge which is definitely not for the faint hearted. It's certainly the case during the closing bars of Collapse, where their sound does actually collapse into a melee of noise, without structure or care. It's a fitting ending to the song!

They close out with The Cruel Mind of Man/Through The Depths of Reality. This brings back round with a more traditional groove. The bass rumble and brief feedback fight for space with the off kilter guitar and bark vocals. It also sees them moving back to sludgier roots on what is the lengthiest number on here. It's actually a pretty epic way to end things too, with a screaming lead drawing your attention as it comes to a conclusion.
Five heavy but characterful songs, that satisfy your appetite for chaos and destruction. Black Veins seems to be pretty dead centre in terms of what Britain is producing musically at the moment. Speedowax have done a great job with the finished product and I'm looking forward to more from these guys. Get it now if you haven't already picked it up.

Hear it for yourself via the band's bandcamp page below:-


You can pick up a copy of the seven-inch from Speedowax at http://www.muempire.bigcartel.com/.

Also keep an eye out on https://www.facebook.com/blackveinsmusic for future live dates and other news.

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