BLACK VEIL BRIDES – Vale (2018)
Los Angeles rockers BLACK VEIL BRIDES will release their fifth album, “Vale”, on January 12 via Lava / Universal Republic. The follow-up to 2014 self-titled effort, which was originally expected to arrive in September, was produced by John Feldmann at his Southern California studio.
The band, known for their mixture of goth / glam / hard / pop, seems decided to conquer wider audiences with this album, their more accessible to date.
Production and sound design in “Vale” is quite flamboyant, a mixture of classic Black Veil Brides and frontman Andy Biersack’s pop persona. After the Motley Crue-like intro ‘Incipiens Ad Finem’, ‘The Last One’ and ‘Wake Up’ kick things off with some fist-pumping choruses, plenty of ‘Woahs’ and ‘Heys’, and some flashy guitar solos, continuing the trend of the purposefully overblown pomp Black Veil Brides have cultivated.
Andy might not be the most inventive lyricist – some of his rhyming couplets are fairly clichéd – but the production, like the undulating strings in the background of ‘When They Call My Name’, makes the songs sound stirring despite their apparent lack of introspection.
Yeah, it’s modern stuff, but very entertaining.
‘Our Destiny’, with its heavily multi-tracked vocals, sounds like a reject from Andy’s The Shadow Side album with some last-minute guitars thrown in, but there is a nod to Black Veil Brides’ earlier, more aggressive sound in ‘My Vow’. It would be a stretch to call it punk-influenced, but it’s fast, and contains more shouts and grunts than the rest of the record.
Some tracks, like ‘King Of Pain’ and ‘Ballad Of The Lonely Hearts’ sound much more instant, easy to ears, but lacking some punch.
Black Veil Brides delivers a very entertaining pastiche in “Vale”, with elements from the past (read ’80s) and contemporary rock. They’ve always been about sounding and looking bombastic, paying homage to glam rock and making songs you can sing along to. And on this new album this accessibility has been augmented.
In summary: is this record fun to listen to? It has its faults, but yes, yes it is.
01 – Incipiens Ad Finem
02 – The Last One
03 – Wake Up
04 – When They Call My Name
05 – The Outsider
06 – Dead Man Walking (Overture II)
07 – Our Destiny
08 – The King Of Pain
09 – My Vow
10 – Ballad Of The Lonely Hearts
11 – Throw The First Stone
12 – Vale (This Is Where It Ends)
Andy Biersack – lead vocals
Jake Pitts – lead guitar
Jeremy ‘Jinxx’ Ferguson – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Ashley Purdy – bass guitar, backing vocals
Christian ‘CC’ Coma – drums, percussion