It’s been over 6 long years since we have had an album release by Pierce The Veil, and to be honest, I really was not sure what to expect. I mean at their height, they were the quintessential emo band. As the band, and fans alike get older and more mature, we often see a shift in stylings and this can go in almost any direction. After my first play through, I could hear that there has been a shift, however it feels like a very natural progression, retaining several of the main elements that made Pierce The Veil just who they are.
Founded in San Diego California in 2006, Pierce The Veil have met with success, line up changes and controversy over the years, however their long awaited return sees them having delivered a very solid 12 track album. This is also the first album since the departure of Mike Fuentes, and sees Vic Fuentes (vocals/guitar), Jaime Preciado (bass) and Tony Perry (guitar) take PTV onto the next level.
The Jaws Of Life, out February 10 via Fearless Records, is the fifth album for the band. The first single from the album, Pass the Nirvana, dropped on September 1st of 2022 and was ridiculously well received, racking up massive numbers of streams. This however is not surprising, as these guys are no strangers to receiving high accolades, including topping Billboard charts, reaching platinum record sales and selling out arenas. Emergency Contact was released in November to coincide with the announcement of the upcoming album, and its official music video has amassed over 1.1 million views already. The third single, Even When I’m Not With You landed on January 12.
The opening track is Death of an Executioner, and it kicks the album off with high energy. A somewhat latin inspired intro brings us into the main riff, which is then followed by some really dirtied up bass and some synth. The trademark emotional, deep, well worded lyrics are not lacking, and give the listener the instant “they’re back” feel.
Pass The Nirvana is up next and has that fuzzy retro sort of sound, which gets heavier as the song progresses. Quite the post hardcore element at times. The screams are still on point, and not overdone.
Track #3 is Even When I’m Not With You which brings with it some gritty fat chromatic guitar work, accompanied with some mildly hip hop & lofi influenced beats and bass work which is, to me, the lifeblood of the track.The vocal melody on this track is very catchy despite being under 3 mins long, leaving the listener wanting more.
Emergency Contact is up next. A modern radio rock hit, it hits all the right points when it needs to. A very catchy chorus and the production of the song is fantastic, with some ambient work thrown in the verses. Lyrically it reaches into your soul, as PTV very typically do.
Whilst Flawless Execution may not have the screams or super heavy riffs, it is no less emotional, and is perfectly placed in the tracklisting. It starts with a lush, chorus soaked clean guitar, and has an excellent vocal melody.
The next song, The Jaws Of Life, tells its story in somewhat of a theatrical manner, almost reminiscent of a song from a movie. I get a kind of Weezer vibe coming through on this one. The guitar and vocals are quite anthemic and showcase perfectly why this is the title track of the album.
Track 7, Damn the Man Save the Empire, starts with some banter and some heavy hitting drums and noisy feedback from guitars. A bop your head type verse which even includes a cowbell in the second verse. Groovy bass too.
Another chill, somber emo track is what Resilience is for me. Opening with a quote from the film “Dazed and Confused” that ramps up from mellow and ambient, to distorted guitars.
Irrational Fear is a 22 second piece with an airline safety spiel running underneath. I guess maybe someone doesn’t like to fly?
The tenth song on the album is Shared Trauma, a soft, spacey sound, with piano, and guitars soaked in reverb. Yet another track that lyrically will reach many who can completely relate.
Not hard to miss the title of song 11, So Far So Fake, as the name is belted out right in the beginning. Upbeat, groovy chorus, with a surprisingly very ‘notey’ and hard hitting bridge section with some small brush strokes of post hardcore towards the bridge and end of song.
Closing the album at track 12 is the beautiful 12 Fractures. With superb harmonies, and a stellar feature from Chloe Moriondo, who lends her beautiful, yet haunting vocals that compliment Vic’s vocals wonderfully.
As far as comeback albums go, I believe this album, The Jaws Of Life, definitely will have a captive audience. Whilst some songs are a vast departure from some of their older material, I think the maturity that comes with growing older will also mean that the more melodic and intimate nature of the album will appeal to fans who have grown up listening to Pierce The Veil. The angsty teens are now 20-30 somethings, many of whom still relate to the struggles that life can present, and look to music such as this to help them get to where they need to be.
I will undoubtedly have this one added to the rotation once it drops, and cannot wait to get a hard copy, to be able to read all the lyrics, some of which I am sure to have missed in the first few listens. Mature alternative modern emo rock is what I would define this as, and it’s damn good!!