Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The band you hate may just be the band you should get to know

Oft-dismissed rockers Black Veil Brides have released their self-titled fourth studio album, produced by the legendary Bob Rock. It is not a concept album like its predecessor, 2013's Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones, but Black Veil Brides does pretty much stick to a main theme throughout - criticism of religion. It's not preachy as in, "let's all go be atheists now" (not that there's anything wrong with that), but it is more about being sincere, finding your own way, and recognizing the hypocrisy that is often found in organized religion.

"Heart of Fire" is Black Veil Brides lead single and opening track. It has great riffs and a hard driving rhythm, especially in the beginning. The chorus of, "This heart of fire is burning proud!" is empowering. It features some choir-inspired backing vocals toward the end, and there is also a fantastic guitar solo.

It is immediately followed by "Faithless." There is bell in the intro that really reminds me of something out of a Black Label Society song. "Faithless" has explosive guitar riffs from Jake Pitts and Jinxx, and Christian "CC" Coma contributes brutal rapid-fire drumming. Its lyrics of, "Even when I fall down to my knees / I never say a prayer I don't believe / and I don't wanna lock up to the Son / But I will never be the faithless one," are about being sincere in faith and having faith in something possibly other than religion. The guitar solo certainly has some classic metal influence in it.

"Goodbye Agony" is a much slower track that has an Avenged Sevenfold vibe to it--especially in Andy Biersack's vocals. It also reminds me of the slower Metallica songs that were big in the '90's. The chorus is quite theatrical as Biersack sings about letting go of previously held harmful, painful beliefs. "Goodbye Agony" is Black Veil Brides' second and latest single.

Like several of the songs from Black Veil Brides, "Last Rites" has a straight up classic metal sound. I absolutely love the intro guitar riffs, and the rhythm in which the opening line, "Children born and raised on a Sunday / hearing what their leaders say / singing along," is sung. The lyrics about children being forced into church and not feeling like they belong is sure to resonate with a lot of listeners. There is also some rapture imagery in this song. "Last Rites" features what is probably the best guitar solo on the album, and it is my favorite track along with "Faithless."

"Crown of Thorns," the album's finale, has NWOBHM-style guitar riffs in the intro, but it quickly takes off in more of a modern direction. Regardless, this track is pure metal. The guitar work from Pitts and Jinxx is excellent. The chorus of "I will walk through Hell / in these words I fell / straight into your arms / with this crown of thorns," is super catchy, and the song has an overall great sound to it. It has the potential to be another single.

Black Veil Brides' latest offering is filled with great songs, and it does not have any low moments. It is truly a solid album. I honestly believe Black Veil Brides get a bad rap. Sure, they may look like the bastard children of emo scene kids and Mötley Crüe's Nikki Sixx, but they are so much better than that. Black Veil Brides have an appealing, and increasingly mainstream, sound that many rock fans will enjoy if only given the chance.

7 1/2 out of 10 stars

Lava/Universal Republic/Universal Music Australia
Official Black Veil Brides Website

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