Seven years: can you believe it has been seven years since Pierce the Veil’s previous LP release? Man, oh man, it’s not going to be “Collide with the Sky,” but I sure hope it can hold a torch to it.
I have to say, this record left me a little confused. I had to go back and listen to it a few times to truly know how to talk about it. At first, I found myself trying to find a reminiscence of their previous sound, and if that is your intention- it will tarnish your experience. I was continually searching for something that was marginally not there, and that isn’t fair to the band.
Throughout their previous works, Pierce the Veil was known for cultivating metal-alternative music that drove in a dramatic way. This made songs that were slightly different, aurally speaking, but when listened to for continuity sake- the picture of the album still made sense. I felt that throughout this work, we had some variety in style and approach; however, I felt that some of their intentions seemed forced and didn’t land.
For the sake of nostalgia, I will say, we are getting the traditional melodic line- brought to you by Pierce the Veil. The lyrics dance around popular themes, while remaining witty in nature. The melodic contour is simple, but made in a way that will resonate with listeners. Also, the band doesn’t shy away from leaning into the blues to jazz up their vocal lines. I don’t mean this in a shady way, but in their new style, however, I am unsure if the vocal timbre of Fuentes fits the soundscape that they are creating.
A turning point for me, within this record, was the song “Shared Trauma.” As I listened to this tune, I began to consider the work differently, which helped me to understand the potential impact of the record. It was evident that this selection is the resident sad/slow song; however, it unveiled (of course pun intended) a major underlying genre influence that I hadn’t fully considered: LoFi/R&B. Now, this may seem odd to consider, but when you listen through the make of the record, it can be heard that the band is utilizing a LoFi beat/backbeat throughout the make. In some instances it is driven through subtle electronics, but in others, Pierce the Veil uses their instrumentation to create a similar experience. R&B came to me through the slower selection because we were able to lean into the blues notes and reveal the AAB lyrical form.
The track “So Far So Fake” was another song that had me interested in the record. I loved how the band had a strict four on the floor backbeat with this compound rhythm present through the strings. This combination created a unique syncopated rhythm that felt almost off the line, which keeps the listeners on edge, but when the resolution comes together in the chorus- man, are we cooking with gas. The technique here, switching from monophonic to homorhythmic movement,allows for there to be separation and then unity, which is always a consonant sound to the ear.
Overall, I am giving this record a 3 out of 5 stars. I battled how to rate it because I don’t think I am personally that fond of it, but I wanted to consider it from an objective standpoint. For 12 tracks, the record moves in a brisk manner. There are some moments that create solid metal-alternative tracks that differ from what we currently have but still reign true to Pierce the Veil. However, I felt that the record provided contrast just for the sake of contrast, and within that, I don’t know how well it works. I found that most of the tracks were blurring together for me. There could be a market for this album- the die hard Pierce the Veil fans- but I don’t know how well it’ll hold up in the industry over time.
*”The Jaws of Life” was released on February 10th, 2023 through Fearless Records.