My first exposure to The Veer Union was as one of the underdogs performing on the second stage at the 2009 Rock on the Range festival in Columbus, Ohio. I don’t remember paying particular attention to them at the time. They performed early in the day, before we’d properly settled in, and nothing about their performance jumped out at me as anything other than stock hard rock; the kind that’s made for pleasant background music, but little else. Their name would reappear years later on rock radio in my area, and I briefly acknowledged my familiarity with them.
Enter DIVIDE THE BLACKENED SKY, their major-label, sophomore effort. The band has its feet planted firmly in the post-grunge genre: thick slabs of down-tuned riff-age, the occasional lead line and a few somber moments to round it all out make the album exactly what you’d expect. That’s not necessarily a negative thing, either. If you’re a fan of the genre, there’s no reason why this album won’t get a few well-deserved spins out of you; the hooks are more than adequate, the running time is short and to the point and the lyrics are emotionally resonating. (Maybe too emotional, in fact, as is the norm for the genre, but frontman Crispin Earl has more than enough attitude and power behind him to make it all worth overlooking).
Truth be told, you could do far worse in this genre than The Veer Union’s latest. Hailing from Vancouver, the band manages to avoid the traps set by their hometown co-conspirators, Art of Dying: despite a few toes dipped tastefully into sentimentality, they avoid the poppier elements that plagued Dying’s debut. Instead, they manage to keep the juice and distortion flowing throughout, keeping their sound firmly in the realm of early-2000s post-grunge and away from the deathtrap of contemporary pop-rock.
Standout tracks include album closer, “Stolen”, “Bitter End” and “Inside Our Scars”.