Black Veil Brides dropped their new album “Vale” Jan. 12. Fans can rejoice in knowing the band has neither changed nor developed since their last project in 2014. The new music successfully fulfils low expectations. This atrocious album can certainly horrify any metalhead.
Starting the album, the listener is greeted with an ominous introduction given by the tantalizing voice of the band’s lead vocalist, Andy Biersack. The intro “Incipiens Ad Finem,” is an eloquently edgy invitation to the “Legion of the Black.” Frankly, I cannot figure out who the intended audience is. He is possibly speaking to the people who still wear pocket chains and have bangs that cover a single eye.
The first track, ironically, is “The Last One.” This song does an incredible job setting the tone of the album, as all the songs that follow sound the same. For the rest of the album, you’ll wonder if songs are being repeated. We can only hope that Biersack is a man of his word as he chants “I swear this is gonna be the last one.”
Many of the tracks include a capella yelling akin to Imagine Dragons and other modern hard rock bands. It surely fits the Black Veil Bride style, but it’s nothing unique. The new work seems awfully poppy sometimes, especially in songs like “My Vow.” Sometimes the music feels like a punky Big Time Rush, rather than a realized, mature metal band.
“Dead Man Walking (Overture II)” is excessive in length, clocking in at eight minutes for no reason. The ending instrumental ends up being reused in the “Ballad of the Lonely Hearts,” the only Lonely Hearts Club I want no part of. “The King of Pain” and “Throw The First Stone” are two examples of songs riddled with biblical imagery. It seems like the writers can’t decide if they’re Christian disciples or outright Satanists.
Overall, the guitar riffs are just so bland. The rhythm and melodies aren’t even foot-tap inducing, let alone head-banging. Usually, a voice like Biersack’s puts me off enough to not listen, but the music is boring enough to do that itself. The lyrics are uninspired and mundane. Too many themes are recycled from song to song like “looking into the sun” and “hearts stopping.”
The only track here with any redeeming qualities is “The Outsider.” This song melds a catchy chorus with interesting background strings that is nostalgic of most early 2000s metalcore. There’s a decent payout for sticking with this song for the guitar solo in the end which is surprisingly cool.
Black Veil Brides seem to be surviving on their fans’ nostalgia rather than their own talent. It’s not all bad, though. I can appreciate the band’s glam metal aesthetic and overall charisma as a stage presence. Also, the new album art is beautifully dark. The only person who deserves praise following this release is the album cover artist.
The band just declared on Twitter, “VALE is taking the world by storm! Don’t miss out on our critically acclaimed new album.” I had trouble finding the storm created by the album’s debut, as well as any real critical acclaim. Sputnikmusic.com gives it a 1.5/5, calling the band “the definition of wasted potential.” Teamrock.com gives it a 3/5, calling songs rushed. Themusicalhype.com gives it a 3/5, saying the “script is predictable.”
I personally find this album to be a failure as a comeback. It could be far better considered a farewell record. The combination of lazy writing and boring instrumentals makes for a forgettable metal album. Like a knife, the band has lost its edge with age.