Review Summary: Not so much "glam-revival" as unwarranted-pretension.
Combining contemporary metalcore with the 80s glam rock that inspired their over-the-top onstage appearance, Black Veil Brides could have created something interesting and fun in a post-glam world. But in almost every department, their music is generic, uninteresting and horribly clichéd.
The album artwork fits in well with the music on this album. Its attempt to present Black Veil Brides as a gleaming new and fun-loving modern glam metal band is betrayed by the fake and blatantly chopped together image. Neither is its concept original. You need only to look at practically any Kiss album cover during the 1970s, Twisted Sister’s debut, Motley Crue’s Shout at the Devil
, or even Power Metal
from Pantera’s pre-thrash era and Set The World On Fire
's artwork appears to rip off this era of music and not even do it well, much like the music that lies inside.
Although this may seem like a far-fetched and pedantic description, the introduction to the album, “New Religion”, perfectly exemplifies the manner in which Black Veil Brides take on unoriginal ideas and do little to nothing with them, for practically the entire course of the album. The song is introduced in the same basic musical approach (guitar lead countered with chords on another guitar using stereo, before coming together in unison) that countless bands, especially those in the metalcore genre, have already employed in their own songs and made their own. For examples, listen to All Shall Perish’s “Wage Slaves”, “Eye of the Storm” and “Still Beats Your Name” (both by Killswitch Engage), “Laid To Rest” by Lamb of God, “Prayers” by In This Moment, etc. Of course Black Veil Brides never claimed to be original (quite the opposite in fact) but this is not the fundamental problem that lies within this piece of music and indeed, the whole of the album itself. “New Religion” is just Black Veil Brides going through the motions. They had the idea, but unlike (as an example) All Shall Perish who created a groovy deathcore part out of it to introduce an even heavier and groovier song, they did nothing to make it either interesting or their own piece of music. Once they have finished performing this little section, the song leads into Andy Sixx’s ill fitting vocals and underwhelming instrumentation. The ideas are hashed together amateurishly and fit badly. Simply put, it’s boring.
Be in no doubt, the instrumental performance is skilful, but whereas glossy guitar timbre has been employed relatively successfully by bands such as August Burns Red and Bullet For My Valentine, here it only aids in making each song forgettable and inseparable from the rest. The verse-chorus-solo structure is also overused and the power ballad that is “Savior” adds furthermore to the cliché.
Andy Sixx claims to smoke five packs of cigarettes a day; well it certainly shows. His coarse voice is out of place with the generally high(er)-pitched and shiny sounding guitars. The melodies don’t help him either. For the most part they lack any sense of inventive rhythm or edge that could make the songs so much better. Occasionally they are a little catchy but this is more in an irritating sense than in a good one. “Woah-oh” gang vocals are used in several songs including “New Religion” and “Fallen Angels” and by this point you are left feeling that Black Veil Brides deliberately chose to rewrite the same song about ten times.
And so we come to possibly the worse aspect of this album- the lyrics. Black Veil Brides consistently boast that they made themselves a band that ‘people can relate to’ and that they are all about ‘standing up for yourself’. Not only does this completely contradict with the glam rock image that they have tried to build upon up until this point, but it points to a not-so-wide selection of cheesy and again, clichéd, lyrics that are so bad and cringe-worthy it feels embarrassing listening to them. Lyrics such as those on the chorus of lead single “Fallen Angels”-
“We scream, We shout
We are the fallen angels.
We scream, We shout woah-oh-oh-oh-oh”
exemplify this cliché at its worst; and the line “We only want to be ourselves” is one example of the lyrical lines aimed at Black Veil Brides’ teenage fan base.
All of these are really part of the one, massive and fundamental, problem with this album; it is nothing more than a poor, half hearted and badly thought through attempt to recreate glam metal in a post-glam metalcore-era world. Black Veil Brides take all the ideas from this metalcore but do nothing to make them interesting, memorable, original or in fact anything truly positive. If you want modern glam, go listen to Steel Panther.
+ Instruments are played well
+ Title-track is a half decent song
- Completely unoriginal in almost every fashion
- Generic metalcore aspect
- Vocals don’t fit in well with instruments
- Boring and forgettable; most songs sound practically the same
- Lyrics are cringe-worthy
- No sense of emotion or effort in song writing and recording; simply going through the motions