The darkened religious context of depravity is evident from the title and artwork alone on the Veils’ fifth studio album, ‘Total Depravity’. The innate corruption of human nature through sin is perfectly encapsulated by Finn Andrews and company on their most haunting and ominous record yet.
Opener ‘Axolotl’ cites the tone, growling and undulating. ‘Baby’s got a belly full of black soot’, bawls Andrews with a sickening menace. This is one of many in a string of horrendously abstract images that crops up throughout the album, most of which crow on the relationship between God, Satan, and the Lynchian dystopia that Andrews weaves into his verse.
Other tracks exemplify this new, sinister Veils sound. Throughout ‘King of Chrome’, the build is exceptionally manic, and it feels like listening to Alan Vega. The Suicide-esque nature of the pulsating electronic lead synth against the almost tribal, syncopated and loose percussion in the rhythm gives it an incredible angst. It’s an uncomfortable yet arousing listen.
Equally, tracks like ‘Here Come The Dead’ and ‘House of Spirits’ channel Andrews’ inner Bad Seed. As if possessed by Nick Cave, he channels another dark side against the gargantuan drums and the shaking, overdriven slide guitars. With the involvement of Atom Greenspan providing production skills (who’s previously worked with Cave), this was inevitable.
Elsewhere on the record, some opposing influences are evident. ‘In The Nightfall’ has a very melancholic trauma to it, sounding like Phosphorescent with it’s atmospheric soundscape and soft, heavily delayed vocals. Beautiful tragedy strikes elsewhere on ‘Iodine and Iron’, the album’s piano-led ballad. It’s intensity is subtle, and with lines like “I’m mad as the moon / and twice as scarred”, you can’t resist falling into the broken yet alluring romance that Andrews conjures with his charismatic and charming delivery, albeit devastatingly sorrowful and agonising.
To summarise, ‘Total Depravity’ is the sound of a new Veils. Expanding their sonic palette and opening up to a new range of ideas, they’ve crafted something intrinsically bewitching, with it’s underlying anti-religious connotations and it’s demonic sentiment.
This is sound of the Veils at their most apocalyptic.
Words by Jack Stevens