Tapping the Vein – The Damage EP

Tapping the Vein
The Damage EP

Tapping the Vein is a band I wish I had checked out sooner. Since they hail from my hometown of Philadelphia, I’ve heard the name tossed around before, and since they’re on Nuclear Blast records I just assumed they were a heavy metal band. This three-song sampler from the band’s full-length debut, The Damage, has shown me that Tapping the Vein is not only not a metal band, they are hard to pin down to any one style at all.
The group consists of Heather Thompson on vocals, Mark Burkert on guitar, Joe Rolland on bass, and Eric Fisher taking up drum and programming duties. This may sound like a fairly standard line-up, but there are a few things that set Tapping the Vein apart. Heather Thompson’s voice is a strong feature on each song, and the sequences and samples provided by Eric Fisher move the music away from anything ordinary. Tapping the Vein’s music is dark, moody, and ethereal all at the same time-and this combination really digs deep into one’s psyche. The music here, though truly hard to label, is not heavy. The sound is seemingly effortless while remaining complex, but nothing that will make your head hurt if loud music isn’t your thing.
“Sugar Falls” makes me fall in love with Heather’s voice from the first few notes. Unlike a lot of today’s “singers,” she’s got a great range and expresses so much emotion with each word. The guitar and bass provide an almost eerie backdrop that has a hypnotizing effect against the pitter-patter of the percussion. Ultimately, the programming and instruments combine in such a perfectly fluid way, it’s almost as if the music if following Heather’s singing throughout the song.
The Code Noir Club Mix and the Radio Edit versions of “The Ledge” are quite similar and incorporate a bit more programming than the previous track – think Nine Inch Nails, but toned down a bit. Heather moves between soft and sultry singing and a guttural cry that is wonderfully complemented with a bit of distortion here and there. The guitar has an industrial, dirty quality that is ideal for this style of music.
In just three tracks, Tapping the Vein show themselves to be a unique blend of influences including rock, pop, industrial, and goth. If this sampler is any indication of their full-length, Damage, then Tapping the Vein should be well on their way to a highly successful career. This band is a solid entity, and Heather Graham’s voice will haunt you a little more after each listen. Damage is an album worth picking up, and you can bet I’ll be catching their live show the next time the play their hometown.