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It's hard not to be impressed with "Vale", even if it's not quite what you were expecting

The next chapter of The Wild Ones unfolds in the highly anticipated fifth studio album from Californian rock band Black Veil Brides, and it’s about time too. 

Five years since the ambitious concept album Wretched and Divine hit our eagerly awaiting ears, and a brief hiatus to allow vocalist Andy Biersack to pursue a solo venture, it left fans with a hole in their hearts that only dramatic riffs and a fantastical story could fill. The historically polarising rock quintet return with “Vale”, proving without a shadow of a doubt, that they are back and their story is far from over. 

As the years have passed, Black Veil Brides have ditched the war paint and seemingly become a lot more accessible to your average audience, but without losing that distinct glam metal and punk feel that makes your skin tingle. But “Vale” seems to be taking things in another direction, with pop infusions and less gritty and aggressive vocals, it feels almost like the inevitable path to the mainstream. 

This isn’t to say the classic Black Veil Brides is completely dead and buried. And if for a second, you were worried they might be, then the driving, punchy riffs in ‘My Vow‘, ‘The Outsider’ and ‘Wake Up‘ will arouse you from your coma. With undeniable tracks dancing around the subject of mortality, insanity and the age-old problem of being an outsider, Black Veil Brides are still in touch with their roots, and writing songs that will truly strike a chord and resonate with so many out there. A true highlight lies in ‘When They Call My Name’, with its particularly anthemic feel and reflects what these guys do best: bring light and hope to perhaps quite a difficult and dark subject. If you don’t raise your fist to the sky in this track, listen to it again until you do. 

Stating in an interview a few years ago, Biersack reassured fans that while exploring the Andy Black project: “it became very important to me that I branch off and write other music, but by the same token, it was very important to me that I not have it affect the sound of Black Veil Brides“. Ironically, Vale has fallen victim to this very prophecy. It feels almost as if this album has been diluted by the influences of Biersack’s other musical interests and solo project, but not to the band’s disadvantage in any way. It would be impossible not to explore new sounds and to remain stagnant and create unoriginal content would be the real crime here. 

Saying that, touches of “Vale” feel like they weren’t quite reflecting the band’s best work. ‘Our Destiny and ‘The King of Pain’ feel a little lost in the sea of this new Black Veil Brides era, and are dangerously in the category of filler tracks that probably should’ve been binned in the editing stage. Most notably, midway point ‘Dead Man Walking’ could have been half as long. For an effort of a song at almost 9 minutes, it didn’t bring a whole lot to the table. However, closing the track with a beautiful violin piece from Jinxx was a stroke of genius and in fact, could’ve been a fabulous standalone piece. His efforts on the strings are also visible in ‘Ballad of the Lonely Hearts, adding depth and breathing life to this eclectic glam opera. 

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“Vale” is an album made very much for the arena, for the adoring crowd of fans to chant back at them with force. The amount of ‘hey‘s and ‘woah oh’s is staggering, and will firmly be implanted in fans’ brains within minutes of listening. Black Veil Brides’ talent for creating catchy songs remains unchanged, their irresistible charm drawing in everyone from dedicated fans, to a whole new generation of teenagers. Arguably, their shortest tracks scream out the loudest: ‘My Vow’ and ‘Wake Up’, so perhaps their message is best digested in short sharp bursts. The latter track is accompanied by a music video depicting a hauntingly relatable tale of a world of people brainwashed by an evil dictator  

Biersack’s vocals are in typical fashion, flawless. Complementing everything from gritty guitars to catchy choruses to delicate piano notes, they are exquisite. Vale’s closing eponymous track encompasses and solidifies the new direction they are taking: a new breed of diverse pop glam rock. Black Veil Brides are a band with truly the luckiest combination of people in the world. Wonderful musicians with a plethora of arrows in their musical quiver coupled with one of the most enviable voices in the rock world, it’s hard not to be impressed with “Vale”, even if it’s not quite what you were expecting. 

The albums full track listing is as follows…

01. “Incipiens Ad Finem”
02. “The Last One”
03. “Wake Up”
04. “When They Call My Name”
05. “The Outsider”
06. “Dead Man Walking (Overture II)”
07. “Our Destiny”
08. “The King Of Pain”
09. “My Vow”
10. “Ballad Of The Lonely Hearts”
11. “Throw The First Stone”
12. “Vale (This Is Where It Ends)”

Black Veil Brides ‘Vale’ is out now

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