Hot off the Press

The Veer Union | Divide the Blackened Sky

by Mark Allen
Staff Writer —

The Veer Union sound a bit more pissed off since their last effort, Against the Grain. Maybe it’s because their label dropped them after just one album. Maybe it’s because two members bid the band adieu at a critical juncture. Or maybe it’s just because they’re from Canada. Whatever the reason, Veer sport an angrier, more aggressive edge on this new outing and it works extremely well.

Granted, The Veer Union do not wander far from the well-defined parameters of the modern hard rock genre, kicking around in the same post-grunge sandbox made popular by Nickelback. Difference is, Veer feature better musicianship and their darker, heavier edge is a welcome change from the booze-and-fellatio obsession of Chad Kroeger and company. Speaking of Kroeger, Veer’s vocalist, Crispin Earl, sounds somewhat similar, but sings better and with greater range. Frankly, a one-line review of this album could simply say The Veer Union sound similar to Nickelback, only better. Some readers just got more excited than a teenage boy getting laid for the first time. Others just threw up in their mouths a little bit. Your call.

Now seems like a good time to discuss the hooks, of which there are legion. Randomly select any point on this album and you’ll find big, fat hooks flying at you like bullets in a warzone. The Veer Union possess a catchiness factor, gifted with the ability to pen anthemic choruses that bristle with commercial credibility but avoid the sugar-pop crassness of many of their contemporaries. While Veer’s overall sound may resemble a heavier-edged Nickelback, their approach to songwriting is more in line with the mastery displayed by Shinedown.

The band’s first single, “Bitter End,” could also serve as their theme song: “I won’t ever / surrender like that / I know better / to ever fall back / I’m feeling born again / I will fight to the bitter end.” And born again is a good way to describe the band, as they sound totally reinvigorated, not only on this song, but the entire album. If the adversity the band endured between their last album and this one made them sound this good, fans should start cold-heartedly praying that the gods afflict them with a thousand tribulations when they record their next one. Just as fire tempers steel, the flames of hardship have strengthened The Veer Union.

Proof of this strength can be found in the songs. Anyone who claims there is filler to be found can be disregarded as readily as a man who claims he watches porn for the plot. The band comes in, wallops out ten great rockers (no ballads on this album), and then have the smarts to not overstay their welcome. As any music fan that has had to give the Skip button a workout in order to get through an album will tell you, ten high quality tunes is better than fifteen tracks of varying quality. And any fan of the modern rock genre would be hard pressed to listen to the mid-tempo distortion of “I Will Remain,” the rapid-fire riffing of “Live Another Day,” or the heavy, clenched-fist headbanging of “Divide the Blackened Sky” and call them subpar in quality.

Simply put, this is one of the best modern hard rock/metal releases of 2012. The band’s previous album was solid enough but lacked that certain something. Whatever that something was, the band has found it by veering off in a slightly heavier direction while retaining ear-catching melodies. The Veer Union suffered blood, bruises, and broken hearts to bring this album to the world. Their pain, your gain.

Genre: Modern Hard Rock

Crispin Earl (lead vocals)
Eric Schraeder (guitar)
James Fiddler (guitar)
Marc Roots (bass)
Neil Beaton (drums)

Track Listing
1. Borderline
2. Bitter End
3. I Will Remain
4. Buried in the Ground
5. Inside Our Scars
6. Live Another Day
7. Divide the Blackened Sky
8. Silent Gun
9. Last Days of Life
10. Stolen


Label: Rocket Science Ventures

Hardrock Haven rating: 9/10