Review Summary: hey, at least the kids got over brokencyde
Coming out of Hollywood California, Black Veil Brides are the next step in the constant repackaging of popular "dark rock", following in the steps of The Used, My Chemical Romance, and other similar Hot Topic bands. BVB, as the band's fans call them, embraces many of the clichés of the aforementioned bands: bleeding heart lyrics dealing with depression, arguably unnecessary screams, pseudo-"gothic" posturing, and flamboyant makeup and dress. Oh, and eyeliner. Lots and lots of eyeliner.
Many people’s relationship with the band began about June 2009, when without any prior notice whatsoever, Black Veil Brides were somehow able to release a professionally produced music video for their song “Knives and Pens.” The video (which currently is sitting at a comfortable 12 million views) successfully catapulted the band from obscurity and into the hearts of mall-rats everywhere via youtube. Their first full-length album, “We Stitch These Wounds” attempts to follow up on this internet success. The odd thing about this is that they waited a year to put out an album, when this style of music has pretty much been out the door since 2004.
The vocals fit the music well, creating some catchy melodies. Catchy, but also very predictable. At about halfway through the album, you know exactly where he's going to go almost every time. That said vocalist Andy Sixx's vocals are more than capable of keeping up with the rest of the band. Andy’s sad lack of major variation in his tenor vocal range very far in any direction keeps his performance in strictly average territory. The band is also fond of backup vocal screams. These will be the first to go when they begin to achieve mainstream success. They sound as if they are coming from within a closet already. It is almost as if they are already putting them away and just wanted to make sure their older die-hard fans were not disappointed. Just as well, as they are completely unneeded and do nothing for any of the songs they are included in.
Lyrical content is what we have all come to expect from bands aimed at school kids, dealing obliquely with teasing, parental and sibling strife, depression, and the like. Even though the band indulges in these clichés, the fashion and all the typical trappings that go along with it, they do maintain a mostly consistent positive outlook with the band’s lyrics, instructing their fans that things are not hopeless: “And I've lost all faith in this blurring light, but stay right here we can change our plight.”
From musical standpoint Black Veil Brides clearly owes a debt to Bullet for My Valentine and Avenged Sevenfold, while citing bands like Mötley Crüe and KISS in interviews. This comes out in the music, clearly being metal influenced. Guitar solos are common and thankfully are not completely pointless, knowing their place well, such as a passable one near the end of the track “Heaven’s Calling.” The musicianship is undeniably passable, but generic. While the guitarists and drummer clearly know what they are doing, what they are doing is not incredible in any substantial way. The bass predictably enough is absent. From my lurking of their myspace and youtube, he never really got any face time anyway, so I am not surprised. When the bass is audible, it mostly hides behind the guitars, apparently ashamed to do its own thing.
In closing, the band does little if any innovation, and sticks to their guns, but this could have been far worse.
Knives and Pens
We Stitch These Wounds