Wooden Veins – In Finitude Review

In recent weeks, I’ve been making an effort to embrace an ideology readily encouraged by some of my fellow writers here at Angry Metal Guy – namely, that you should pick out your reviews, at least some of the time, without sampling available singles or excerpts. When I saw In Finitude resting in the Promo Pit, I made no exception. I know it’s the debut full-length release from a Chilean band called Wooden Veins, whose members have credits involving Chilean doom metal bands like Mourning Sun, and that the band labels itself is an avant-garde force in the scene. I also know what the cover looks like, and that was it. It was all more than intriguing enough for me. Does it deliver?

Turns out that’s a bit of a tough question. On the surface, In Finitude is a beautiful album. It’s well-produced, well-mixed, gorgeous album art, the whole nine yards. Vocalist Javier Cerda in particular offers a rich performance to fill the gaps between slow guitar and bass lines (Juna Escobar). His deep crooning fills a sorrowful void that gives Wooden Veins a minimalistic and sorrowful sound. With heavy metal embellishments from Escobar and symphonic/electronica-esque touches from Eduardo Poblete (keys), In Finitude is the picture-perfect image of a doom metal album with largely melodic and slightly eccentric touches. It reminds me a bit of Vola (but then, I have been spinning Witness a fair amount lately) if Vola took inspiration from Swallow the Sun or Insomnium (actually, I probably have that backwards; the doom sound is dominant).

There’s probably more I could say about the sound of In Finitude, but the problem is that not a lot of the album stuck with me, and I’m even now struggling a little to name tracks to sample for this review. Maybe it’s because it’s a debut, or maybe there are production choices that I’m not gelling with, but it certainly feels as though Wooden Veins play this album incredibly safe. “Beyond Words,” for example, has all the makings of an upbeat, memorable metal adventure, as it opens with energizing drums from Alberto Atala and fast-paced riffing… and yet, the drums don’t add much impact or energy, the guitars mostly stay in one place, and Cerda’s voice, while rich, maintains its usual slow drawl, largely at odds with the music and lacking in the energy and aggression that the song seems to demand.

The two tracks that do stand out to me are “Mirages” and “Invern,” where Wooden Veins really lean into their melancholic side and here a lot more about their sound works. Here, I feel I can hear more clearly what the band is aiming for. I really like the drumming on “Mirages,” which has a ritualistic sort of vibe going for it, thanks to Cerda’s distant delivery and cold lead guitar lines. On the other side of the album, “Invern” takes a lot of the metal away from the approach, opting for fewer power chords, less distortion, and a more grounded approach, which works great with the keyboard and singing styles the band seems to prefer. There are some really beautiful, cold, cathartic moments in these tracks, but it’s hard to overlook the fact that they represent two songs in eight, fifteen minutes out of forty-eight. The rest simply doesn’t stick.

Typically, the music on display here is the kind I’m a serious sucker for – modern-sounding doom metal with symphonic flourishes that set the band apart a bit from their peers – especially when it’s this well-polished and produced. Unfortunately, I just don’t hear the kind of songwriting that moves me as the style should. I wanted to like In Finitude much more than I did; it’s clear that Wooden Veins have a good vision and formula, but I’m sad to say that the best way I can describe their debut is to say that while it is not bad, I ultimately found it forgettable.

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: The Vinyl Division
Websites: woodenveins.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/woodenveinsband
Released Worldwide: June 4th, 2021

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