Review Summary: Tangible angst.
Remember when Black Veil Brides were THE thing to take the piss out of? Held responsible for ripping off the aesthetic of bands such as Kiss and condemned of releasing a condensed take on Motley Crue’s music, it became an instinctive reaction for logic and maturity to be put aside and people to complain about them once the slightest thing about the band was mentioned in passing. One of the Internet’s favourite weapons was to provoke their fervent fanbase and, in turn, said fanbase would act equally imbecilic and lash out, defending their beloved band with every sense of passion that they could muster. Those that stood at the side-lines, popcorn in hand, observing this chaos unravel, would continually ask ‘how many times do we have to say that if you don’t like the band just ignore them?’
And ignore it they did… eventually. “Vale”
is the band’s fifth album, meaning that the average age of their fan base when their hit single ‘Knives and Pens’ was released back in 2009 will be about 25 now. While it would be interesting to discover whether these fans are still loyal members of the BVB Army after all this time, it’s clear that the band is still solely targeting the same audience who originally made them so popular but of a fresh generation. Black Veil Brides’ feelings are presented nakedly during the cringe-worthy “Ballad of the Lonely Hearts” and “When They Call My Name”, the latter containing lyrics of ‘I need you to tell me everything will be alright/To chase away the voices in the night/When they call my name/Have I gone insane?’ Andy Biersack’s voice is then isolated against the gentle patter of piano, mimicking the teardrops we all cry over such relatable profundity.
Further examples of the band refusing to mature lie within “The King of Pain”, “Wake Up”, “The Last One” and “Our Destiny”, all of which revolve simple, stroppy stamping riff patterns, a chorus that consists purely of undemanding ‘woah’s’ while repeating the song title, and tedious electronic implementations. Inversely, Black Veil Brides are genuinely good at what they do… it’s just what they do is incredibly banal. “My Vow” and “Throw the First Stone” attempt to shake their audience awake with short guitar solos and energised grooves however they both, unfortunately, contain so many of the aforementioned clichés that they ultimately sound only slightly less insipid than the rest of the songs. Luckily, the production job that “Vale”
unveils is, admittedly, huge and it assists Black Veil Brides’ songs in sounding as anthemic as possible.
Of course, this album will still be unquestionably popular amongst the band’s fanbase. It ticks all the boxes of what they have come to expect, the production is bigger, and the lyrics are so watered-down that the only possible choking hazard is how cheesy “Vale”
is. Upon further inspection, it appears the album title can be interpreted as a written or spoken farewell. Considering how similar each song sounds on this album and in turn how similar this album sounds to the band’s past catalogue, it’s challenging to grasp exactly what Black Veil Brides might be saying goodbye to, especially since there seems to be no end to the torment, pain and lonesomeness they express lyrically. Or, perhaps it simply has no deeper meaning: like the music itself.