Pierce the Veil
Selfish Machines


4.0
excellent

Review

by Connor Welsh USER (13 Reviews)
June 24th, 2010 | 166 replies | 34,948 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Pierce the Veil refine their catchy style of post-hardcore into a more precise sophomore effort.

14 of 16 thought this review was well written

Pierce the Veil is:
Vic Fuentes: Lead vocals and rhythm guitar
Mike Fuentes: Drums, percussion and backing vocals
Jamie Preciado: Bass, programming and backing vocals
Tony Perry: Lead guitar and backing vocals


Change can be a band’s best friend or it’s worst enemy. While some bands choose to change their sound (either for the better or worse) with each album, some bands in turn absolutely refuse to tweak their sound and keep coming back to the same formula--also for better or worse. Four-piece post-hardcore outfit Pierce the Veil, however, chose a different path for their sophomore effort, Selfish Machines: that of improving and refining their already infectiously catchy melodies and pseudo-technical instrumentation, without “redefining” themselves as a band, or altogether changing their sound in the process. The result? A stellar release that will do nothing but further polarize the band’s following.

The area that has undergone the most noticeable of changes would be the all around instrumentation on Selfish Machines. The guitars, for one, now stand out much more than they did on A Flair for the Dramatic, and are more technical, more often. Previously, while the guitar was always there, it was never really…well…there. Currently, the guitars are hard at work, no longer simply fitting the mood of a given song, but often defining the mood of the song"be it the jump-start intro to “Besitos,” or the subtle classical guitar in “The New National Anthem.” This isn’t to say the guitars are always dominant, or in your face. Tony and Vic can still be heard many times in many tracks simply playing along, strumming neither incompetently nor overzealously. As far as percussion goes, Mike provides a standard post-hardcore backbone--which is not a bad thing. He plays competently and quickly, but not in a showy-fill laden manner. When the time is right, you can hear the occasional speedy and intricate flam roll or double bass fill, but often times, he sticks to a simple, fun drum part which keeps the song moving along. Not much as changed in realm of bass guitar, sadly. While more audible than on past releases (which isn’t saying much), it still does little more than provide a strong, occasionally fun or technical low end.

The winding, intricacy of the guitars along with the steady, punchy backup provided by the drums, accompanied with the rumbling low notes of the bass all combine to create one stellar canvas upon which the vocals work their magic. Vic's high-pitched croon soars high above the conglomerate of instruments, matching guitars’ strung-out whine--meeting mixed results. While his vocals certainly command respect for the amount of talent it takes to hit notes that high, they can easily be perceived as whiny or just unpalatable, creating a love-hate relationship. Given the band is a relatively vocal-centric one, Vic’s high-pitched singing can be a huge deciding factor in liking or disliking an otherwise solid band.

Fuentes is at some point vocally supported by every member of the band, and one guest, Jeremy McKinnon of A Day To Remember (regardless of your feelings of his performance in his own band, his additions to “Caraphernalia” fit outstandingly well.) The backing vocals, while mostly the same, are now harmonically improved, and thus, used more often to support Vic when just his voice isn’t enough for the lyrics he writes. Speaking of lyrics, if nothing else, they’re outstandingly catchy. While “The Boy Who Could Fly,” “Caraphernalia,” and “Stay Away from My Friends” are all lyrical juggernauts; every song (save the effect-laden, incredibly repetitious “Fast Times At Clairmont High”) has at least a lyric or two that is prone to sneaking its way into your head and staying there for hours.
By now you might be wondering, “okay, so the vocals might be a little off-putting, but what else stands in the way of the complete success of this record?” Well, even if you weren’t wondering, I’m going to point it out anyways. This album is relatively top heavy, especially when compared to A Flair for the Dramatic. Starting off with three of the best songs on the record (with “Southern Constellations” placed in there, but given its seamless transition into “The Boy Who Could Fly,” it’s easy to forget about) makes it easy to overlook what’s left. Don’t get me wrong--there are plenty of strong songs later on in the album; tracks like “The New National Anthem,” and “Disasterology” help keep it vaguely balanced, but ultimately, the album falls short of finding a way to compensate for having such an overwhelmingly energetic start. Factor in tracks like “Million Dollar Houses,” and “Fast Times at Clairmont High” (both of whom overuse effects and sing-along-y song structure to the point of their own demise), and it’s clear that while Pierce the Veil have come along way in refining their sound on Selfish Machines, they still have a ways to go.

So, combine it all together; the absorbing guitar work, the steady drums, pseudo-prominent bass, lyrics that will lurk in your head for days and high, crooning--if not whiny vocals, and what do you get? Selfish Machines, a post-hardcore spectacle that may not be as balanced as it’s predecessor, but certainly more technical, heavy, catchy and enjoyable.



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user ratings (559)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
xxKillWithASmile
June 24th 2010



240 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've gone from having no time to a lot of time so as a result i've been kind of pumping out reviews one after the other.
I've had this one in the works for a while though, and I think it shows a little. I know it's a bit wordy, and I'm gonna
trim it down, as I am also aware of a couple slight grammatical disagreements--both of which I'm going to do in the
morning. This'll probably be my last review for a while though.
Suggestions for edits and criticism are always welcome! As long as it's helpful haha.
Also i didn't realize how long this damn thing is. Woops.

xxKillWithASmile
June 25th 2010



240 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, it's pretty sick. I just realized I spelled two of the song names incorrectly repeated times. Another thing ill fix in the morning haha.

pmmets07
June 25th 2010



5848 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Though I generally can't stand Vic Fuentes's voice, I think I'm gonna check this out considering it's
getting so much praise.

Good review btw. Pos.

xxKillWithASmile
June 25th 2010



240 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks dude! And yeah, his voice can be a bit much, but this album is damn good.

wewillbelegends
June 25th 2010



122 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review. you really hit the nail on the head here. I basically feel the same exact way. It's a great album for sure.

xxKillWithASmile
June 25th 2010



240 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

awesome! Thanks dude, great minds think alike haha.

pmmets07
June 25th 2010



5848 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Damn dude I didn't even realize you're the same guy who wrote the review for Plies and Lil' Boosie. I got such a good laugh out of those.

xxKillWithASmile
June 25th 2010



240 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haha, thanks man. If it wouldn't get old i'd review all of Plies' albums, its just fun. But I figure I should try and switch up genres a little bit haha.

pmmets07
June 25th 2010



5848 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I forget what show I was watching, but for some reason Plies was hosting it. He said bruh a lot. I laughed.

xxKillWithASmile
June 25th 2010



240 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If you ever need a laugh, look up the final announcement video for the Goon Affiliated release date. Its on his myspace probably, and its great.

theacademy
June 25th 2010



28254 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

album is all kinds of win

Mars Blackmon
June 25th 2010



351 Comments


I need to get this. Good review dude pos

xxKillWithASmile
June 25th 2010



240 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Mars.

stevecif
June 25th 2010



16 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

God I wish I could agree with you guys on the album being good... I waited so long for Selfish Machines to come out but I just can't get into it. My full feelings on this record are explained in my little review under "user ratings"...
and I'm kind of wondering if anybody else has the same feelings as I do about the album?

MrGlass
June 25th 2010



326 Comments


wow. "Besitos" is pretty awesome. checking out this album right now

xxKillWithASmile
June 25th 2010



240 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Stevecif, I don't really disagree with your commentary--it certainly is a change in style, I just don't think it's all that prominent, in my opinion it's just slight enough to increase this album's palatability. I agree 100% on the over-produced vocals though--it flat out kills two songs which would be otherwise solid. To each their own though!
MrGlass, yeah, Besitos is one of my favorite tracks. Just letting it flow from that, into "Southern Constellations," to "The Boy Who Could Fly" and down to "Caraphernalia" is awesome. After that, though, it gets a little choppier.

Elijahwow
June 25th 2010



30 Comments


Terrible album from a terrible band.

xxKillWithASmile
June 26th 2010



240 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I dunno. Needless to say, I liked it haha.
Also, some negs? If there are ways I can improve it guys, tell me! Don't just neg it cause you disagree with the rating. That's a little janky.

jessiedemolish
June 26th 2010



15 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

it's good for what it is. i like the vocals for about half the album, then they get kind of annoying. all in all, i still like the band and what they're doing.

xxKillWithASmile
June 26th 2010



240 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah. I hope they keep going along with what they're doing, but maybe balancing it out a little bit with some more FFTD vocal material wouldn't be that bad. One thing I didn't feel was worthwhile to put in the review is that I think the vocals are a bit easier on the ears on past albums, which is funny, cause they're by far the most heavily produced in this one haha.



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