Black Veil Brides, Vale | Album Review
Following a three-year-plus hiatus, L.A. based rock band Black Vale Brides return with fists pumped to the sky on their fifth-studio album, ‘Vale.’
Vale, the highly-anticipated comeback album by rock band Black Veil Brides has arrived! Prior to Vale, the L.A. based collective has been missing-in-action for more than three years (Black Veil Brides, 2014). Notably, Andy Biersack released a solo album (as Andy Black), The Shadow Side, between the band’s albums. Now “all is right with the world,” and BVB return charged up. Fists pumped!
“The Last One”
“The Last One” was the final teaser track released in advance of Vale, yet the first full-length song on the album (follows intro “Incipiens Ad Finem”). The record commences enigmatically, led initially by moody piano. Gradually, “The Last One” builds up into a dynamic, rocking number, over the course of a minute-long intro. Biersack enters north of the first minute, flaunting those inescapable vocal cords. His artistic presence is indisputable. The chorus represents the best moment. Musically, Biersack has a backdrop of driving, ‘souped-up’ guitars fueling his fire and matching his intensity. “Standing on the stage / Bleeding out our youth / Create a holy war / And sell it back to you.” Vale keeps on rolling with another vigorous showing, “Wake Up.” Fists remain pumped to the skies as Black Veil Brides are determined to make the world open their eyes. The resolve is a selling point.
“When They Call My Name”
“I need you to tell me everything will be alright / To chase away the voices in the night / When they call my name / Have I gone insane?” The crowning achievement of Vale is the mid-tempo “When They Call My Name”. The record commences with an orchestral flare, instantly giving it a dramatic touch. Additional synths and piano enter in, preparing the backdrop for Biersack’s compelling and powerful vocals. Following the restraint of the first verse, the chorus packs more punch. Upon reaching the second verse, Black Veil Brides are fully invested, rocking out. By the end, the listener receives the full effect.
“The Outsider” continues the excellence of “When They Call My Name,” initiating with fire, thanks to ripe lead guitar. The wall of sound, created by the guitars is epic, devastating, and dynamic. Biersack blesses with his glorious, husky pipes, painting a stellar portrait of the outsider. That marginalized tone continues on the second verse, summed up on the thrilling chorus.
“Take no blame for my past mistakes / I am living with hate, fucking with fate.” “My Vow” packs a mighty punch, particularly considering its brevity. The tempo is quick, while Biersack is turned-up, exhibiting the utmost angst. Black Veil Brides are locked in as a unit: damning guitars, vocals pushed to the brink, and a “fight to find a savior.” A spiritual experience, in a most secular, nonreligious way.
“Dead Man Walking (Overture II)” requires patience for those with a short attention span. Nonetheless, this eight-and-a-half-minute juggernaut possesses a taste of everything, including an orchestral overture capturing the notable melodies that occur throughout. The end is noteworthy. Penultimate record “Throw the First Stone” retains the toughness and grit of the album as a whole. The biting, jagged bass riffs shine. The balladry of closing number “Vale (This Is Where It Ends)” contrasts much of what precedes it.
All in all, Vale is a sound comeback album from Black Veil Brides. The most positive attributes of the album include the distinct vocals of Andy Biersack, the dynamic, jagged, often harmonized guitars, and the colorful production overall. The biggest flaws? At times, the script is predictable. Perhaps more lyrical and musical variation could have made it even stronger. That said, no shame in BVB’s game. Vale is enjoyable, and definitely has its fair share of replay value, particularly gems like “When They Call My Name” and “My Vow.”
Gems: “The Last One,” “Wake Up,” “When They Call My Name,” “The Outsider” & “My Vow”
Black Veil Brides • Vale • Republic • Release: 1.12.18
Photo Credit: Republic