Words and Photos by Masen Smith
Just eight months after ripping through Chapel Hill in support of Harms Way, Vein returned to give NC a full dose of their brand of hardcore punk. A crowd of about 200 strong packed into the Local 506 for a raucous night of violence, fight riffs, and moshing. From before the first note, there was a palpable buzz of anticipation for the night to come- and Vein & Co. was sure to deliver. As this was the penultimate date of the tour, the entire audience was eager to close the string of shows with a rager.
Blackened Hardcore band Joy opened the night, blasting the room with pure distorted anger and misanthropy. The unadulterated, raw aggression perfectly set the tone for the night. Hearing the dissonant black metal influences added more texture and depth to their sound, and although brief, their performance was immensely powerful. With very little downtime, up next was Vatican. Vatican took the blackened hardcore feel from the previous set and expanded on it, picking up speed and injecting the crowd with even more energy. The amount of passion poured into their performance was evident by their impressive stage presence, spearheaded by a very active and expressive vocalist. The final opener, Judiciary, brought back the roots of HXC, their more traditional style and instrumentation riling up the mosh pit to its peak thus far. All of this energy came to a head as their set was coming to a close and we were anxious for what we’d all been waiting: Vein.
Chaos is the only accurate word that could describe a Vein performance. From the mosh pits to vocalist Anthony Didio’s massive stage presence to the ever-changing fight riffs and breakdowns, Vein brought thirty-five minutes of pure sonic violence. Stage divers and hardcore dancers made the floor a battlefield, the mass of bodies pulsing and swinging limbs to the rhythm. Vein proved why they’re a mainstay in the genre, as the entire room was reduced to a mosh pit. It was truly a sight to behold, and the cacophony endured from first to final note. HXC is not just music; it is an experience that is meant to be lived. It is meant to be ugly yet poetic, violent yet cathartic. And Vein wrung every ounce of energy from the teeming crowd, commanding a commitment to a venue-wide release of aggression through their art. The emotion is unfiltered, and that honesty is truly refreshing. If you missed your local date on Vein’s headliner, you can catch them on tour with Every Time I Die (November 12 – December 12). You can find the tour dates here.