Much of the press material leading up to the release of This World Is Going to Ruin You focuses on a quote from vocalist Anthony DiDio where he states that they’re going back to the band’s roots on this record.
In many ways, this is accurate as there is a higher degree of chaos running through these songs that effectively hearkens back to Vein.fm’s 2013 demo or the Self-Destruct EP.
However, what DiDio did not reveal at the time (or perhaps rather, what wasn’t played up as much) is how far afield the band goes in experimenting with new sounds on this outing.
The album closes with two slower, more melodic songs that see them expanding on the Deftones influence often cited when referencing for example, a song like “Doomtech” off their previous LP, 2018's errorzone. These two closing tracks, “Wavery” and “Funeral Sound” expand on this influence and give it fully fleshed-out (and lengthy) songs to play around in.
The running theme of This World Is Going to Ruin You sonically is unpredictability. The whole record has a nice flow to it in that all the songs and parts make sense when taken as a whole, but from moment to moment you never quite know what’s going to happen next. I find it thrilling that even after repeat listens, I was still somewhat on my toes.
There are moments of melody breaking up the brutality, but Vein.fm pushes the envelope in both directions so that their melodic sections such as the excellent “Magazine Beach” and its preceding interlude “Wherever You Are” or Geoff Rickly’s guest spot on second single “Fear in Non Fiction” have a chance to shine and embed themselves into the listener. Meanwhile on the flip side of that coin, when Vein.fm commits to going hard on a track, they pull no punches.
Even on “Fear in Non Fiction”, you could make yourself dizzy trying to keep track of where the band is going until Rickly’s guest spot cuts through the noise and helps you come up for air.
The opening track “Welcome Home” hits you with a knockout blow right out of the gate built on a plodding almost industrial-sounding chug, transitioning nicely into lead single “The Killing Womb” with its absolute monster of a breakdown.
“Lights Out” has the potential to be an absolute barn burner live, with its intro going through more time changes in the first 10 seconds than my puny brain can keep track of, then going into a pummeling groove before switching things back up again. “Inside Design”, “Hellnight,” and “Orgy in the Morgue” bring high energy heaviness to the table, but then the record goes into “Wavery” and things slow down and get a touch moodier.
“Wavery” garnered some attention when it was released as a single for its melodic slow burn structure, but the track that follows it (and closes out the record) “Funeral Sound” is the real outlier here. It opens with about 3 minutes of just clean vocals and keyboard, before going into a sample of what sounds like a voice mail, then going into a heavier section that still prominently features the keyboard and puts melody at the forefront.
It’s the natural expansion of moments like the second half of the title track from errorzone or the bridge from “Doomtech," showcasing the diversity of Vein.fm’s sonic palette.
Vein.fm stands on the shoulders of bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan and Candiria whose musicianship, aggression and general anything-goes approach to songwriting is what made them so special. In turn, it is what makes Vein.fm and 'This World is Going to Ruin You' special.
Any band could’ve closed the record at “Orgy in the Morgue” and been content with having made a perfectly good sequel to their debut, however, “Wavery” and “Funeral Sound” throwing a sonic curve ball makes for a wholly more satisfying listen.
In that sense, This World Is Going to Ruin You is simultaneously more accessible and also more challenging than Vein.fm’s previous efforts. Fans of just the aggressive side of Vein.fm may be turned off by the two closing tracks while new listeners perhaps brought in by the catchiness of “Wavery” will struggle with the moments where Vein.fm goes back to their essence such as “Lights Out” or “Hellnight”.
So while yes, there are moments here that lead back to the band’s roots, it’s the moments where Vein.fm looks off into the horizon that make this a more gratifying listen. The band has dialed up the intensity both emotionally and aggressively so that even when it feels like the band is looking backwards, they’re pushing themselves forward by giving you a better, more complex version of the old ways.
Press play and strap in and for bonus points see if you ever get to the point with this record where you feel like you can even attempt to air drum along to it (I don’t think you will).
What I do think is that Vein.fm has made a truly rewarding record here, one that merits repeat listens to try to peel away the layers of and one that I’ll myself be studying long after finishing this review.