The Brides jilted at the altar, the American 5-piece return with a flurry of underwhelming singles.
Everyone’s teenage guilty pleasure have returned to the emo scene, following the return of Andy Biersack from his solo project – Andy Black – the brides have released a flurry of singles to announce their comeback. I’ve decided to smash together all three releases into one review, they come before the release of their fifth album, Vale, set to release in January next year. Have the band evolved from their heyday, or are they doomed to be stuck in the 2010s?
I won’t be aggrieved to admit that when I was younger (much, much younger…) I did enjoy a fair bit of Black Veil Brides; they were the gateway into much heavier music, and without their influence I doubt I’d have crossed into the territory of classic metal (such as Iron Maiden, Metallica etc.). On my musical ‘journey’, Black Veil Brides were the first ‘real’ band I listened to independently; by this, I mean bands such as Green Day, Nirvana and other standard music greats were thrust upon me by my family. Their influence wasn’t involved here; I found Black Veil Brides completely by myself. I was proud of the fact that I liked them while they were ‘in fashion’– everyone in my immediate friendship circle had begun listening to them at a similar time. As I grew older, I simply grew out of the band and their songs began to disappear from my playlists. We Stitched These Wounds (2010) was an influential album, and Wretched and Divine (2012) rekindled my respect for the band as it was clear they’d made a distinct move away from emo-core, and attempted to step more into the mainstream glam metal/hard rock scene.
The lead single from Vale opens with the very distinctive guitar screech that seems to be a trademark of lead guitarist, Jinxx. In fact, the guitar is consistently very on-brand for BVB – it could be easily mistaken for Devil’s Choir from the 2012 album. There was an evident evolution between their second and third studio albums, it was clear that the band had grown from being an angsty outfit with a heavy focus on teenage screams of the front man to a glam metal band. We also saw another change with their self-titled album from 2014, here we saw them refining their unique tones, evolving their sound to more heavy metal vibe. With The Outsider it is clear that they have gone back to their older sound, which I cannot help but feel shows the lack of development in the band and perhaps a sense of complacency. I feel as though this single camouflages nicely with the rest of their discography, whether that is a good thing or not I don’t know. It’s somewhat flat and tame until Jinxx hits his solo, but unfortunately by that point it seems a bit late. Sure, this song is permissible, but critically it’s nothing new and certainly not what I would expect from a lead single to a fifth album.
Just four seconds in, this song is immediately better. With a distinctly heavier sound, amped up distortion, and a fresh chord progression, this should’ve been the debut single. However, Biersack’s vocals sound flat and lifeless. The best thing about this song are the tricks Jinxx throws in with his guitar, but that’s not enough to save an entire song. Like the previous single, it just seems a bit dull. Yeah, it has the energy to begin with, and it’s certainly a stadium song but it could be said that it is a copy of Steel Panther which is simply is not enough. Better, but not good.
When They Call My Name
What? What is this? WHAT?!
When writing these, I queued the three singles and played each on repeat until I was ready to move onto the next. After finishing My Vow, I thought I must’ve accidentally queued a song by another band. Honestly, I couldn’t help but think ‘what is this?’
For those unfamiliar with ‘Andy Black’, last year the Black Veil Brides frontman decided to embark on a solo career. With a synth-pop vibe which is the distinct opposite from the sound of Black Veil Brides. Whilst it’s not my cup of tea, it’s nice to see Andy trying to expand his musical repertoire with something a bit different. But When They Call My Name isn’t what I’d expect from Black Veil Brides, and more from Andy Black. It sounds like one of his solo songs with a distorted guitar looped overhead. Incorporating the talents of Jinxx on violin, the song doesn’t sound too dissimilar to Wretched and Divine, but unfortunately this rallying war cry falls on deaf ears.
This song has the potential to be good – it may be the bad taste left in my mouth from The Outsider and My Vow, but it just seems very bland. I wanted to see how others were receiving this song, upon searching it I can comments such as ‘powerful’, ‘haunting’, and ‘exciting’ – but I whole heartedly disagree; layering a false harmony over Biersack’s chorus does not make the song powerful, the pseudo-nihilistic lyrics are not haunting, and this does not get me excited for Vale. This song is remarkably easy to criticise, and I apologise to anyone who still likes BVB; obviously, it’s all subjective. A poor effort, badly executed.
Sadly, the band have fallen into two pits that really limit their abilities; for one, Black Veil Brides still seems to be The Andy Show – there’s nothing wrong with using a frontman in the limelight, but Biersack really hogs it in his attempt to recreate the cult following of Marilyn Manson or Iggy Pop; time has moved on, and these followings are not as prominent. Biersack is no longer the emo icon that he was when covered in makeup and spikey, greasy hair. Unfortunately, his vocals haven’t evolved at all, and it seems that all passion has been drained. It is also an indignity that Ashley Purdy, the bands bassist, is buried by Jinxx and Jake Pitts’ guitars – he’s a fine bassist, but his parts are hidden in all three singles. Likewise, drummer Christian Coma has fallen into a rut and seems to have no real chance to shine amongst his basic drum routines.
Secondly, it seems the band have begun to cling onto the nostalgia of a time where they were no. 1 on the Billboard Independent Chart. Sure, the three songs are different in style, but each attempt to recreate a feeling from a previous album. Move on, Brides, or be stuck in this pit forever.