Pierce The Veil

Fearless Records, 2016


REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


San Diego’s Pierce The Veil has been bubbling in a pot of “below the mainstream” bands. Until I heard Misadventures, their fourth album, I had only been aware of their existence because they’ve shared the stage with a who’s who of upcoming bands. Now on a headlining tour in support of this album, Pierce The Veil will stop in Clive, Iowa, tonight. It’ll be an energetic show, and before they take the stage as openers, I Prevail and Neck Deep will have ratcheted up the crowd.

Misadventures is an energetic, well-produced release. The album starts out on a high as “Dive In” showcases the talents of the individual members. Vocalist Vic Fuentes is going for the bleachers. Using some piercing (pardon the pun) vocals, his ability to be calm and intense within the same tune is commendable. His brother Mike behind the drums can pound frantic rhythms. Their parts are built on the foundation of guitarist Tony Perry’s riffs and the low-end rumbling of bassist Jaime Preciado. “Texas Is Forever” and “The Divine Zero” are equally intense.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The highlight is when they slip into the mid-tempo groove of “Floral & Fading.” Preciado and Mike Fuentes firmly establish a groove that is a pleasure to bob your head along to in unison with the pulse. The next track “Phantom Power and Ludicrous Speed” returns to the metal tendencies of the first three cuts, especially Perry’s riff in the middle of the song.

Lyrically, it’s a lot to internalize. The imagery of lyrics in “Dive In” paint abstract portraits of the pain and suffering that comes with relationships with other human beings on Earth. Cryptic lyrics are included within tunes so you can’t just nod your head and dismiss the band as being “deep” – they are present so you can accept the challenge to analyze those words and walk away with a connection with the band. That challenge is laid out as follows:

“I wanna be the tattoo ink that swims down through the needle in your skin
And I wish I was poisonous
Like a bottomless sound, like a violent drug
I was lying to you, but you were lying too
So what’s left to do
What’s left to say
Stop making friends, just us
I’ll decompose with you.”

Perhaps the most glaring weakness on this release is the way these tunes don’t really sound different from each other. It’s the familiar tightrope: how to write tunes that are unique while acknowledging that their sound is their sound. I don’t have the magic solution – just the observation that, while intense, these tunes tend to melt into one another. Did the band take enough risks on this release? Except for “Floral & Fading,” my answer is “No.” This is 45 minutes of intensity for sure, but that doesn’t make the material especially memorable.

Ultimately, I commend the band for their ability to assemble crunching guitars and searing vocals. But there are a lot of bands to choose from in today’s not-quite-mainstream music scene that are sweating night after night in smaller venues, such as I Prevail, Neck Deep, Beartooth, Miss May I, We As Human, and From Ashes To New, and I recommend seeking out those bands. While this release is energetic, I don’t predict that it will get more than a smile and an occasion listen.

Rating: B

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© 2016 Paul Hanson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Fearless Records, and is used for informational purposes only.