Alright, Black Veil Brides has been one of my favorite bands for years, and as I listen to singles from their new album, they will hold onto this coveted spot. In the meantime, however, let’s rejoice and enjoy their older music.
Like all of the music I adore, I discovered them in high school, and my infatuation with them came into full bloom when my father was dying of cancer. So yes, my connection with their music is a cliché-their crazy guitar solo, pounding drum fills and soothing vocals helped me get through a dark and rocky time in my life. However, brushing away this tacky feeling, this connection is still my connection. It holds meaning for me, and to some extend that is all that matters.
Before I get into the actually ranking, I want to state something I find interesting about this band: each album has a very distinct sound. Overall, the band’s sound is within the hard rock and metal realm of music, however, each album showcases a variation of this sound. Sometimes the sound is raw and angsty and other times it is full of power and might.
This was a tricky list to construct because I love all their music pretty much universally. However, some songs are certainly better than others, and certain records are much more ambitious than others. As always, this ranking was born from frustration, cursing, and an intense study of the music.
#5 We Stitch These Wounds
Their debut album lands in the last spot, even though it is a solid record and it holds several stand out tracks that are BvB classics. “Knives and Pens” was a rather popular song once upon a time. Musically, heavy instruments dance around beneath Andy Biersack’s unique, charming, and sometimes growling, voice. “The Mortician’s Daughter” is another good single that holds a special place on a few of my playlists. It isn’t a speedy song by any means, rather it has a very soothing and relaxed tone. Overall, this album is a wonderful mixture of moody music graced with both dreary and upbeat lyrics.
For a fan of their more recent work, the biggest drawback of this album will be the sound. It sounds totally different than the rest of their work. It isn’t as “big” or “deep”. Honestly, this isn’t a weakness, because this was their first album. They had yet to mature, as individuals and a band.
Another flaw sometimes highlighted are the vocals. Andy Biersack’s voice isn’t nearly full or coated with the elegant colors that can be heard in later albums. However, I have never seen either of these “flaws” as problems. I look at these “issues” as points where improvement can be made; and as Black Veil Bride’s other albums show, they certainly have made changes and improvements as they moved along in their career.
#4 Black Veil Brides
Their newest album lands in third place. While I loved this album, and listened to it on repeat for days, I don’t think it stands above Set The World on Fire or Wretched and Divine. Sonically, this album is by far the fullest. It is brimming with a throaty explosion of sound. Overall, there is a dark shroud draped over the music, which is a throwback to their original album.
For once, I actually agree with the list of singles from this album; “Heart of Fire”, “Faithless” and “Goodbye Agony”. The first two are big, full sound metal songs that get the blood flowing, while the last single is another example of how ballads should be done. However, as always, every song on this album is worth listening to, especially if you are taken by Andy Biersack’s vocals or enjoy the zesty hues of Jake Pitts’ the guitar licks.
Sadly, the songs tend to blend into one another. Naturally, this is a huge flaw because the album gets stale, and kind of stagnate. This album also has the least amount of variation, which is why the songs blend together. Most of the songs are fun and loud, while other the band’s albums exhibit more of variety of styles and tempos. These are two big drawbacks that hurt the album, however, like all of their work, it is still worth listening to and enjoying.
#3 Set the World on Fire
Released about a year after their first record, Set the World on Fire showcased many points of progress. Notably, this album has a deeper, more hefty sound. Overtime, the band would keep a sound similar to the one featured on this album. The second improvement was Andy’s voice: it is suddenly more rich and powerful! Between records he received vocal training.
As with their first album, nearly every song of this record could be a single. However, “Fallen Angels” is one that everyone knows. “Legacy” and “Rebel Love Song” were the other singles from the album. All three of these are great songs. The band shows off their skills with alluring guitar riffs and thundering drum fills. However, the opening track “New Religion” has always been a favorite because of the slick guitar work in the beginning and the harsh sounds that don’t let up until the track is over. Themes from this song are seen throughout Black Veil Bride’s music: religion.
Like the album in the top spot, Set the World on Fire has songs with more than one speed. It has some faster songs, some litter songs and some pretty heavy ones. To me, it takes a good musician to create music that doesn’t all sound the same. I think bands that produce a disc that is filled with a series of fun, though flat songs are not as good as bands that produce records with a mixture of musical styles and tempos. Albums that are choking on straight metal songs (or any genre) can be boring to listen to, for me, because there is not variety music and sounds.
The bonus song from this album is wonderful, and worth picking up if possible. Smoke and Mirrors is further ear candy rather than a waste of time, like some bonus tracks.
Vale is an excellent album. It is well crafted, both lyrically and musically. The instruments are tightly bound together beneath Andy Beirsack’s charming vocals. Additionally, it has pretty much everything you want from a metal album: wicked guitar solos that have been crafted to perfection, smoldering attitude, slick drum beats and smart lyrics. However, it is not quiet as ambitious as Wretched and Divine.
Musically, this album is clearly connected to one of their previous albums: Wretched and Divine. This makes since because Vale is the sequel to Wretch and Divine. For me this is a huge bonus because I absolutely loved the left turn the band took when they changed their sound on Wretched and Divine. I believe their sound is more measured, and filled maturity and precision on both records.
When the band isn’t marching through a blistering solo, ripping through a break down, the guitar work adds smaller, almost atmospheric details to the words Beirsack sings. There are plenty of heavy and soft moments on the album. This should please fans that enjoy headbanging, as well as people that like to hear a story develop through music
The story that unfolds in Vale depicts what happens to The Wild Ones after the events of Wretched and Divine. I enjoyed Vale’s story more because the themes Biersack ties in are near and dear to my heart. Primarily, he discusses humanism, and individual strength. These two themes are natural choices for the band since they commonly focus on “the outcasts” of society, and they build on the anti-religious themes of the previous record.
This is one of those rare albums where the majority of the songs could be singles. I thoroughly enjoyed the disc front to back. However, I have developed a couple of favorites. So far, after listening through the album a few times, “Our Destiny”, “King of Pain” “Vale” and “The Outsider” seem to shine the brightest. This does not mean the other songs aren’t as good or fun, it just means these songs have peaked my interest a little more.
You can read my review of Vale here.
#1 Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones
For me, this album is wrapped in a special, untouchable gilding, however, it is also Black Veil Brides’ most ambitious album. They did make a movie to go with this record after all. Additionally, this is a concept album.
While a lot of this record is actually a departure from most of their music, I argue this is actually why the album deserves to be in the top spot. The band pulls in little elements that add a nice layer of surprise to this album. The violin work, for example, is not extensive, nor overused, however, it is a welcomed addition. Also, on the musical front, there are elements of punk laced throughout Black Veil Brides rock and metal roots.
But don’t worry, many of the songs feature the elements you will expect from a Black Veil Brides disc: cool guitar work, drum fills that make the room shake and charming vocals drifting atop this controlled chaos. However, what really boosts this album above the rest of their discography, is the lyrics. The songs on this record are much better written than their other albums.
Surprisingly, I actually like all of the singles form this record. The lead single “In the End”, in a word, is remarkable. It is hard hitting, fun and possesses a deep meaning that does not dull with repetition. “Wretched and Divine” and “We Don’t Belong” are also great tunes. I was completely taken by “Wretch and Divine” from the first notes of the track. The single “Revelation” is actually a bonus track from the Ultimate Edition of the album. This too is a solid addition to their long list must-listen-to songs.
Originally posted 12/3/17