When Californian rockers Black Veil Brides released their breakthrough album ‘Set The World On Fire’, the follow-up to their 2009 debut ‘We Stitch These Wounds’, seven years ago it became abundantly clear that they were very much a “Marmite band”, listeners were either fully invested in the glam rock influenced renegade sound, or they plainly didn’t care for it at all.
While admittedly some of the band’s earlier material did definitely come across as cheesy (most noticeably the single ‘Fallen Angels’ and the music video that accompanied it), the fact that a large dedicated fan base was established so quickly wasn’t too surprising. Whether they’re you’re cup of tea or not, Black Veil Brides are a band that have always been aware of their identity and message, much like My Chemical Romance, or more recently Creeper. They seamlessly create a world for their fans to lose themselves in.
Fuelled by glam rock theatricals, heartfelt vocals, and an array of impressive guitar lines, fifth record ‘Vale’ continues the concept that was born on the band’s 2013 concept album ‘Wretched And Divine’, once again sees us following the journey of a group of outcast leaders known only as The Wild Ones. Channelling these characters and weaving their story is Black Veil Brides clearly in their element. From the brief spoken word ‘Incipiens Ad Finem’ setting the scene to the epic finale, ‘Vale (This Is Where It Ends)’, and each track inbetween, The Wild Ones’ final chapters are chronicled extremely well, and the execution of the album’s ambitious concept is by far its strongest point.
The heavier side of the album, including ‘The Outsider’, ‘My Vow’, and ‘Wake Up’, feel like the same instrumental effort with a fresh set of lyrics each time. There’s no denying there are moments that will make your ears prick up; power ballads ‘The King Of Pain’ and ‘When They Call My Name’ are both noticeable highlights. However, the fallback of ‘Vale’ is the fact that, ultimately, it falls into the trap of sounding like the same song rehashed multiple times, making it, overall, a fairly forgettable listen.