Costumed and face-painted shock rockers Black Veil Brides are back with a new album which released on January 12th earlier this year and, even though they are a band I am yet to see perform live, their act still intrigues me in much the way striking costume bands often do – such as KISS, Lordi, and Mötley Crüe to name a few. In fact, they acknowledge these bands and others like Twisted Sister and W.A.S.P. as part of the influences for their mainstream-friendly sound and image, how they became the darlings of the Kerrang! generation they have morphed into.

The familiar monologue narration the band often adopt starts the album with intro track “Incipiens Ad Finem”, before falling smoothly into the oh-so-reassuring tones of “The Last One”. Although Black Veil Brides have not particularly reinvented their style of hard rock and heavy metal, they have brought shock-rock back to the masses after its long absence from the industry, and still they manage to bring something new to the mixing table with every new release. It is worth bearing in mind that they started as a primarily metal-core band on 2010’s debut We Stitch These Wounds, whereas their musical style took an interesting diversion into a more symphonic direction with 2013’s Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones – largely in part due to the classical influence of rhythm guitarist Jinxx.

As but one example of this diversification of influences, “Dead Man Walking (Overture II)” is certainly one of my favourites on this new release, encapsulating the fundamental BVB sound within the annals of its 8:32 length. The hints of synthesizer that have been dabbled with in this track and “Our Destiny” give an interesting new slant to the familiar recipe, and show the band are still not afraid to experiment with different ingredients and styles twelve years after their conception and numerous iterations.

With long, melodic guitar solos from Jake Pitts and the ever-changing higher-pitched vocals from Andy Biersack, Black Veil Brides still show exemplary form – even if the direction of the band has grown into something different since their previous releases. It is not a bad decision in my opinion; as even with the heavier and grungier edge of Vale, it still delivers for BVB fans and should still please general hard rock and heavy metal fans alike. The album continues to provide good material even after each listen, as the audience discovers more and more elements within the numerous layers of the tracks, unraveling as the album winds on.

After a five year gap in releases, Vale is a superbly well-rounded addition to the varied discography for Black Veil Brides, with more flawless production and haunting instrumentation – and I for one am certainly glad to hear more music from Andy Biersack and his crew.

Vale Track Listing:

01. Incipiens Ad Finem
02. The Last One
03. Wake Up
04. When They Call My Name
05. The Outsider
06. Dead Man Walking (Overture II)
07. Our Destiny
08. The King of Pain
09. My Vow
10. Ballad of the Lonely Hearts
11. Throw the First Stone
12. Vale (This Is Where It Ends)

Run Time: 46:37
Release Date: January 12, 2018

Check out the band’s “Wake Up” here.