Black Veil Brides – Black Veil Brides IV


Album

Black Veil Brides IV

Label

Lava Records/Universal Music Australia

Year

2014

Genre

For Fans Of

Trivium - Avenged Sevenfold - Aiden

Summary

Nothing new, nothing awful.

Rating

66 / 100

It’s easy to tear apart a Black Veil Brides record. In particular, your opposition is scarce – many music fans, without even spinning an album, unquestionably presume that they’re not praised for a reason. Having said that, Black Veil Brides IV isn’t as bad as you would expect it to be. Andy and the crew have delivered a cohesive effort that could have been received very positively, if not for their controversial reputation and the fact that it’s nothing new.

When we say it’s nothing new, that’s exactly what we mean.  From first song ‘Heart of Fire’ to last song ‘Crown of Thorns’, there’s a continuation of the dark, religious imagery that’s been presented to us by Black Veil Brides from the moment that they named their band. ‘Faithless’, which features rapid drums, almost choir-like background vocals and a religious rejection, is evidence of the case in point. Reflectively, ‘Last Rites’ sustains the subject of faith, and would have probably been the record’s standout with aggressive, chugging guitars and a killer hook if not for the already tired subject matter and an unnecessary breakdown. ‘The Shattered God’ is also a play on faith tropes, but features possibly the cheesiest lyric ever: ‘you are forever alone’.  Rather than using a narrative to tie the repetitious songs together, an engaging trait of concept record ‘The Wretched and Divine’, they all just seem ambiguously similar, meaning that none really distinguish themselves.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad. The anthemic and empowering influence of songs like ‘Heart of Fire’ (which features the integrous catchcry ‘I won’t be terrorised), ‘Stolen Omen’ (which possesses demonic and sort of petrifying screams as Andy sings for the ‘hope’ that’s ‘broken’) and ‘Devil In the Mirror’ epitomise what made Black Veil Brides so appealing to their fans in the first place. There’s one thing you can’t knock them for, and it’s the ability to transfer their own confidence and steadfast sense of self to fans who feel like outcasts in their own lives. The power of vast guitar solos, easy sing-alongs (see the almost poppy introduction of ‘Drag Me to the Grave’) punchy riffs and Biersack’s gritty, loaded vocals adds to the message of self-belief that Black Veil Brides paint and transpose to listeners.

If you’ve never listened to Black Veil Brides before, this album won’t feel as repetitious as it does for people who have. Essentially, it presents everything that they’ve ever offered: songs that are a little bit too long, rapid riffs and drums, even some chugging and of course, Andy’s trademark, unexpectedly low vocal range. It even has cheesy ballad-like tracks, from ‘Goodbye Agony’ to the over five minute ‘Walk Away.’ ‘Crown of Thorns’, however, basically defines the record. It’s big, it’s a song about idols, and it gifts you, the listener, the ‘hope to rise above.’ On top of that, it has strong, discernible guitars, and drums you can actually hear. But it’s nothing groundbreaking, and they aren’t saying anything they hadn’t already said from day one of their career. At the end of the day, it seems that dropping four records in four years hasn’t left much space for new ideas.

Conclusion

If you listen to this record, you should do so without being quick to judge based on this band’s infamous reputation of doing things over-the-top. What you’ll find is a substantial effort that exhibits a degree of musical talent and a collection of songs that encourage every listener to search and seize their own self-confidence, a trait Black Veil Brides possess which can’t be faulted. Despite that, it essentially adds no depth to the repertoire they’ve built on previous albums. For Black Veil Brides fans, it’s a welcome treat, but for apathetic observers, it’s a record that probably didn’t have to be made.

Tracklisting

1. Heart of Fire
2. Faithless
3. Devil In the Mirror
4. Goodbye Agony
5. World of Sacrifice
6. Last Rites
7. Stolen Omen
8. Walk Away
9. Drag Me to the Grave
10. The Shattered God
11. Crown of Thorns

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