Black Veil Brides – Vale

The first time I encountered Black Veil Brides was way in 2011 when they supported Murderdolls at Glasgow’s ABC. I’ll be honest when I tell you they didn’t impress me. They were far from a great band at the time and their live performance was somewhat lacking.

At the time I felt they were more about the image than the music and I just wasn’t into it.

About a year later I saw them again in the legendary Barrowland Ballroom and, if anything, I thought they’d actually gotten worse. They came across like a band who’d become a victim of their own hype and success, drowning in their ego and on the path to self destruction.

At the start of 2013 though, something changed. I was sent a copy of Wretched & Divine: The Story Of The Wild Ones to review and while initially I was hesitant to even bother with it, I had a job to do.

What I found was a newly invigorated Black Veil Brides who had matured into something more akin to a modern day Alice Cooper or a Mötley Crüe for a new generation and I loved it with Wretched & Divine: The Story Of The Wild Ones gaining a top spot on my best album of the year list in 2013.

Five years later and I’d happily go on record saying I’m a fan of Black Veil Brides and now they’re back with their long awaited fifth studio album, Vale. So, without further delay, let’s dig in.

The album begins with a short spoken word track before opening up into The Last One. The track itself opens up with a sombre piano piece which is quickly accompanied by some guitar before opening up into a blistering, fist pumping rock anthem that’s sure to get the blood pumping when cranked up to 11.

Wake Up

When They Call My Name

The Outsider

Production

Ballad Of The Lonely Hearts

Second to last is Throw The First Stone, perhaps the heaviest track on the album showcasing a more aggressive tone to Andy Biersack’s impressive vocal range, before moving on to the album closing ballad, Vale (This Is Where It Ends), which further highlights the underrated guitar talent that is present in the band.

If you’ve never given Black Veil Brides a shot before now then this is as good a place to start as any. From start to finish this is a solid album, of that there is no doubt, but it isn’t going to set the world on fire.

Vale isn’t going to blow anyone away and it definitely isn’t going to win over the legions of haters out there but it is a good album with some stand out tracks tailor made for your next playlist update.

Overall though, I’d say this could be a good introduction to the band but at the same time it may fall a little flat with their core audience as at times throughout the album it feels like the band are deliberately restricting themselves and playing it safe rather than experimenting with something new and interesting.

Where Vale shines however is in the production. This album sounds absolutely incredible and there is nobody that could possibly disagree with that. The drum work is punchy with the guitars flooding your ears when they need to, an ever present bass line, which too often is left forgotten and too low in the mix to be heard, and all of this is topped off with superbly mixed vocals sitting at just the right level in the mix they don’t overpower the musical composition.

I’d have to say that my biggest gripe here is that maybe the band are following the tried and tested Black Veil Brides formula a little too closely this time around and could have benefited from doing something a little different.

While admittedly Vale won’t win any awards for originality, what it does well is build on the legacy the band has built over the past decade or so, freshens it up and brings it into 2018 while at the same time remaining familiar