So, after some careful listening, I’m beginning to figure out what the new Vein IS. IS, as in what it’s composition, based on the original vein, IS.
Disc 1, the reimagined hardcore version, principally takes the one-two minute punk/grindcore tracks, isolates them, and removes most of the droning/jamming (contrary to the name, the hardcore version is comprised of about 50-60% drone). Instead of the extended instrumental intro, it cuts the intro down to just over a minute, adds in an additional instrumental piece that I can’t identify (based on the mix, which is significantly different). The instrumental outro of Side A is instrumental outro of disc 1.
Disc 2, the reimagined drone version, seems to be an extended jam of the the second part of the original hardcore version’s instrumental intro (fuzz/feedback/doomy bassline). Some of this made it into side A of the drone version, but again, the mix is substantially different, with the driving bassline brought front and center. It has more in common, soundwise, with the instrumental intro (around the 5 minute mark) of Hardcore’s side A. The second half of Disc 2 seems like a more straighforward remix of drone side b, although somewhat condensed.
Vein CD is a very different experience than either of the Vein LPs. The hardcore disc is decidedly more hardcore, by simple elimination of the moodsetting instrumentals. The drone disc, while still instrumental and droning, has more of a doom element by pushing the noise to the back and the rhythm to the front of the mixes during its first phases. You have a fairly consistent track, in some ways reminiscent more of Cloud Chamber than Vein’s drone disc, which feels cohesive and thematically similar to the original, while it avoids the ubiquitous squealing of feedback, except in its climax (as mentioned before, taken from the latter portion of Side b), which largely defined its LP counterpart.
While an interesting experiment in reduction and remixing, I feel that a large part from the Hardcore disc is missing. Lacking the extensive and sweeping metal instrumentals that punctuated those brief and incredibly chaotic songs, the CD makes for less pleasurable listening than the LP version. It feels like less of a holistic experience than a collection of short and thrashing punk songs by a band that is more well known for their lengthy and melodious stoner metal suites. The Drone CD, in some ways is an improvement, offering some variation that wasn’t necessarily present on the original, and showcases some of boris’ best hard-driving instrumental metal since the Thing Which Solomon Overlooked series.