Thursday 1 February 2018

Album Review: BLACK VEIL BRIDES - Vale

Black Veil Brides - Vale

1. Incipiens Ad Finem
2. The Last One
3. Wake Up
4. When They Call My Name
5. The Outsider
6. Dead Man Walking (Overture II)
7. Our Destiny
8. The King Of Pain
9. My Vow
10. Ballad Of The Lonely Hearts
11. Throw The First Stone
12. Vale (This Is Where It Ends)

The first time I became aware of Black Veil Brides was at Download Festival a few years ago, when there were posters plastered everywhere advertising their forthcoming second album. I remember looking at the band and thinking that they looked awesome, kinda like a young, modern mish-mash of Alice Cooper, W.A.S.P and mid-eighties Motley Crue. I was unbelievably disappointed when the first song I heard from them sounded like a really lame version of Killswitch Engage, owing more to Metalcore than the 80's Heavy Metal that their image reflected. Fortunately, I heard a few more tracks, and some of them weren't bad at all. I still never really bothered with them much, but I thought I'd give this new record a proper listen and see if I could get into it.

Vale is their fifth studio album, and comes hot on the tail of lead singer Andy Biersack's starring role in the movie American Satan (read my review here). Ironically, his singing voice wasn't used in the film, but his appearance has catapulted Andy and his band right back into the spotlight, particularly in the world of Metal.

After a short spoken word intro, the album kicks off with one of its strongest songs, The Last One, which has a huge singalong chorus, and provides a good representation for what's to come. The first thing that sprung to mind was that the song sounds a lot like Avenged Sevenfold, but with a superior production, reminiscent of Metallica's self-titled 'Black Album', but with a modern sheen.

Quite a few tracks follow this formula, including The Outsider and The King of Pain. There are times when the album goes into more commercial territories, such as on the rabble rousing Wake Up, and on several, what are best described as their take on power ballads, such as When They Call My Name, Ballad of the Lonely Hearts, Our Destiny and Vale (This Is Where It Ends).

There's plenty of heavy riffing, most prominent on my personal favourite My Vow, and also the grooving monster that is Throw The First Stone.

Vale is a good album, but I wouldn't consider it a great one by any means. Most of the songs aren't bad, but there are only a handful that I would choose to re-listen to. They have a fantastic image, and production values that most bands would kill for, but I think they fall short in the song department. Negativity aside, kids fucking love them, and Black Veil Brides are responsible for getting a new generation interested in heavy music, which can only be a good thing.


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