Teays Vein hail from the small, quasi-Swiss burg of Berne, a few miles south of Fort Wayne. According to the band’s bio, they’ve applied the area’s fabled “Midwestern work ethic” to constantly hone their writing and performing chops. Such attention to detail pays off on Resistance, Teays’ second release.
The album is heavy without resorting to cheap nu-metal clichÈs, and it’s emotionally expressive and varied enough to stand up to repeated listenings. Teays obviously invested a lot of effort in the pacing of the songs as well as finding unique sonics to complement Aaron Winteregg’s passionate vocals and dark lyrical themes.
The guitars on “Fear the Gun” (courtesy of Seth Arnold and Eric Bransteter) alternate and blend between clean and hummingly distorted (think prime Smashing Pumpkins), creating a swirling, atmospheric tension before the song breaks into a punishing refrain. “Quit ripping my life away,” wails Winteregg atop the maelstrom. The loud/soft dynamic is repeated throughout the disc, but feels more like a unifying theme among the songs than a limitation.
Which is not to say there aren’t several changeups on Resistance. Witness the poppy opening on “Long Way,” which hints at a modern-day “Paint it Black,” complete with insistent tom-toms. Pretty Spanish guitar touches grace “You Gotta,” while a mesmerizing acoustic guitar frames “When It Was,” recalling the best moments of late 80s power-ballads (yes, I mean that in a good way).
Teays Vein’s rhythm section definitely delivers the goods here. Drummer Clint Bransteter proves capable of both hammering and finessing the kit, while Robert Hammond’s basslines are always solid and often inventive. His jumpy bass part sets off the syncopated midtempo rocker “Within,” underpinning the layered and leapfrogging guitars.
The band is distilled to its essence on the final track, “Just Like Me,” which rocks hard for the first couple of minutes before shuddering to a halt, Tool-like. A single tick-tock guitar hovers amid distorted swells for a few seconds before everything bursts open into a full-on assault to end the album.
Resistance is consistently hard-rocking but heartfelt. It’s easy to sink into the band’s groove and let the album play through, rather than skipping around for one favorite or another. The depths this band is mining may have not been fully reached yet, but they’ve gone plenty far. Go to teaysvein.com for more information.
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