Black Veil Brides have gone through quite a transformation the last few years. After a long period of being seen as make-up clad hard rockers with a striking resemblance to Kiss, the Andy Biersack-fronted quintet have slowly ditched the face paint and dramatic concepts, rather opting for a larger emphasis on the musical output. Up until not too long ago, it was considered “cool” to hate the band based on their appearance but now, with a new album out next week, it’s time for the music to take centre stage. Read on to see what All Things Loud thought of their Bob Rock-produced, self-titled fourth album.
Lead single Heart of Fire opens the album with chugging guitars and pounding drums, as Biersack shows off a deeper vocal tone which is very evident in the chorus. His high notes do fall victim to overproduction, with his strained deeper tone being overpowered by faint backing vocals. Heart of Fire is a fast paced album opener which from the off showcases Bob Rock’s influence on the album. A gutsy growl from Biersack is followed by a slick solo and chanted gang vocals, before Faithless picks up the pace even more. Church bells accompany a haunting hardcore metal riff courtesy of lead guitarist Jake Pitts, before Christian Coma’s fast drumming enters the frame. Despite the heavy intro and strong emphasis on double-bass drumming, Faithless slows down in the chorus for an anthemic chant of “and I’ll never be the faithless one”. Devil in the Mirror keeps up with the fast guitar and drum combos, before another Black Veil Brides-by-numbers combination of chanting and arena sized choruses enter the frame. “I will never surrender, even if I start to fall” sings Biersack triumphantly ahead of a quick guitar interlude. Goodbye Agony follows with what is by far the biggest sign of Bob Rock’s influence. Its slow intro could have been on any Metallica album circa 1990, as it morphs into a fists-in-the-air power ballad. All too often on this album are there clear Metallica influences, which are thankfully evened out by 1980’s hair metal, stadium-ready choruses and a touch of hardcore. If Metallica did radio edits, this would be the outcome. The hardcore metal elements return on World of Sacrifice, as Biersack fiercely growls over the upbeat intro which features higher-pitched riffing from Jeremy ‘Jinxx’ Ferguson. The chorus slows everything down once more, opting for a We Will Rock You-styled approach.
As we enter the halfway point on the album, Last Rites introduces a mid-paced Metallica chug, with religion-themed lyrics seeing another standard chorus come and go in the blink of an eye. Last Rites also sees Biersack’s vocals fall victim to overproduction, yet this is somewhat compensated for by the interesting subject matter. Stolen Omen makes use of marching band drumming and haunting synthesizer noises in one of the album’s more powerful tracks, whereas Walk Away enters ballad territory with more Metallica circa 1990 guitars and demure pianos accompanying Biersack’s pensive lyrics. A string section enters very briefly before the chorus, before becoming everpresent throughout the song. There’s a great solo mid-song courtesy of Jake Pitts, before choir-like vocals help bring the song to a magical ending. Drag Me to the Grave encompasses elements of Kiss, Aerosmith and Def Leppard as a chanted intro makes way for a large chorus later on, before penultimate track The Shattered God enters hardcore territory once more. James Hetfield’s opening riff is soon joined by Kirk Hammett’s shredded maste-. Oh, sorry, wrong band. Jake Pitt’s opening riff is soon joined by Jeremy ‘Jinxx’ Ferguson masterful shredding skills, with another anthemic chorus making way for a rather good solo which sees the distorted guitars descend as Biersack’s vocals ascend. Album closer Crown of Thorns sees Biersack reflect reflect on his career thus far as he sings “7 years have been and gone, all that’s left are scripts and songs”. The song ends with one last hurrah as the chorus is repeated with more force to bring Black Veil Brides IV to an end.
This album may not be a revolutionary piece of art, or anything close to ground breaking for that matter, but it’s definitely not a bad album. The album see’s Black Veil Brides break away from the cliché heavy metal of their past and cement themselves in classic hard rock with hardcore tendencies. It’ll certainly silence the critics of the past, that’s for sure.