Via Vengeance is an unusual band. The fact that it’s a solo project may not be that unusual, but Shane Ocell (who’s also the drummer in the Phoenix sludge group Sorxe) carries his music beyond the studio, performing guitar, vocals, and drums live — all at once, by himself, without the use of looping or other digital manipulation. The second album of Via Vengeance, Harsh Conditions, which has been gestating for several years, will finally be released on March 11 by Battleground Records, and today we’ve got one of the new songs for you: “Dead In the Snow“.
On this song, Ocell isn’t going it entirely alone, as he usually does. A Storm of Light’s Josh Graham — who also created the cover art — makes a guest vocal and guitar appearance on the song (and interestingly, Ocell’s grandmother BJ Scott adds piano and clean vocal harmonies elsewhere on Harsh Conditions). When asked about Josh Graham’s appearance, Shane Ocell explained:
“When Storm and Via toured I had asked Josh to pick a song that he wanted to add some vox and guitar to, and at the end of the tour ‘Dead In The Snow’ was the song he chose. I love what he did on there and hopefully one day we could play it together live.”
“Dead in the Snow” is a wrenchingly powerful, chilling song that suits its title, with the groundwork laid immediately by slow reverberating guitar notes, soon joined by massive vibrating riffs and the thump and crash of drum and cymbal. Unfolding at a funereal pace, the music becomes even more emotionally punishing, with a combination of raw, gritty, inflamed vocals that convey anguish and agony and high clean vocals that accent the track’s forlorn atmosphere. Actually, “forlorn” is too tame a word: The song’s crawling melody weeps blood. And it will stay with you.
Harsh Conditions includes 11 tracks and 42 minutes of music. It will be released both digitally and in CD format — and you can find ordering links below. One other song from the album (“Swarmed”) has premiered at CVLT Nation, and you can check that out via this link.
Via Vengeance will also be embarking on a US tour in March with Gomi, starting the same day as Harsh Conditions is released. Here’s the schedule for that:
3/11/2016 The Greenroom – Flagstaff, AZ
3/12/2016 Triple Nickel Tavern – Colorado Springs, CO
3/13/2016 Tennyson’s Tap – Denver, CO [3-7pm happy hour show]
3/14/2016 The Jackpot Music Hall – Lawrence, KS
3/15/2016 Livewire – Chicago, IL
3/18/2016 The Happy Dog – Cleveland, OH
3/19/2016 The Owens Travelers Tavern – Akron, OH
3/22/2016 TBA – Nashville, TN
3/26/2016 Pub Rock – Scottsdale, AZ *CD Release Show w/ Black Tusk, Holy Grail [no Gomi]