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    Black Veil Brides - Set the World on Fire

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    DarkEnvy
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    Black Veil Brides - Set the World on Fire

    Post by DarkEnvy on Fri Jul 11, 2014 5:10 pm

    Black Veil Brides - Set the World on Fire



    Genre: Metalcore / Hard Rock

    (Review originally posted on Sputnikmusic under my old name, ASnideReturns)

    This is part two of a sequence of story reviews. Here are the links to the other reviews.

    Part One: We Stitch These Wounds - Not Completed
    Part Three: Wretched and Divine - Not Completed

    Nostalgia can sometimes be an overwhelming force; to juxtapose memories with music can only serve to heighten the impact of it. Naturally we find ourselves clinging to the good memories of our past, some more than others. In the case of a select few, the desire for these fond recollections gets to the point where we lose ourselves in our own delusions. These can span into the far future, create people and places we’ve never known, and can distort our own personal realities. Andrew Biersack, the lead singer of Black Veil Brides is one of said people who have channeled their own self-constructed perception of reality into a music medium; the desire to have everyone else discover their own world through the portrayal of his own. Set the World on Fire is the rightfully ambitious product of an idealistic and egotistical adolescent who wanted to close the gap between the visions inside his head and the reality outside.

    ”When you talk about things being lost or greatly written off, it is that idea of fun and basic rebellion, things that at their very core are the innate values of rock ‘n’ roll. To just to have fun, be yourself, and do something rebellious against the things you grew up with or the daily drudgeries of life. So, often now rock ‘n’ roll music has sort of been hijacked by the sad and the weak and the people that want to wallow in how tough life is. Of course, life is tough but life isn’t bad, life is what you make it.”

    - Andrew Biersack, 2011 Interview with Loudwire

    Act 1Blind Aggression: New Religion and Set The World on Fire

    A movement, a flag waving carelessly in the mental wind of our 20 year old protagonist; he has an idea, he has a mission, and he just has no clue where to start. The year is 1971, and as “New Religion” riffs along, it sets the beginning pace of the album to a fast tempo; meanwhile our protagonist looks out his window at his burgundy 1967 GT-500 Mustang feeling a familiar emptiness in his gut. He wanted to drive, he wanted to bask under the tranquil glory of the city lights. He wanted to take the car passed to him from his deceased father and do everything that he was never able to do. The pace continued to pick up, the quickening drum fills helping to build up towards the inevitable high point in the song and the anxiety started to set in as usual. A haze came over him as the solo rang through his ears; faster, faster, faster. The panic subsided in the blink of an eye, as he gazed at the new holes in the drywall and the trickling blood which was running from his knuckles to the floor. This was the last time. Within the hour his bags were in the car, and he was on the interstate heading towards Los Angeles, California. Gone are the ties to his family, the dead end job, the barren wasteland of no potential. This is the day where his life begins.

    Night finally came around, it was four AM as the guitar licks of the title track accompanied the protagonist’s eager glances at the road in front of him. He had no plan, no motive other than to go and prove the world wrong. As he drove across the country he looked around at what he saw; sepia painted faces and sullen looking expressions. He wanted to save these people, he wanted to show them the liberation that he felt the second he got in his car. As the chorus kicked up, a realization kicked in; he couldn’t do anything. There was only one way to reach the people of the future, and that was to affect the people around his age here and now. He wanted break the harsh reality he called life.

    ”It’s time to burn all that you see. Now the world belongs to me.”
    - Set The World on Fire

    New Religion and the title track are the mood setters for this album. By listening to these two tracks you know exactly what you’re in store for with this album. Intricate guitar work, crisp riffs and speedy drumming. New Religion is the perfect opener for this album, wasting no time attempting to build up the pace and jumping straight into it. Gang vocals are prevalent throughout the song and help to elevate the various sections of the song to greater heights. The lead and drums take the spotlight in this song, particularly showing their colors during the well constructed short solo after the second chorus. The pace only starts to slow down near the end where Andrew launches into a yelled speech about the ills of false happiness and condescension. The accompanying subdued guitar sweeps behind the speech help bring out the more climactic parts until it fades out with “This is the new religion, amen!” The title track slows things down a tad and better showcases the catchier side of the album, going for a more wall of sound style approach while still being clear as a mountain stream. The lyricism stays consistent, motivational and upbeat like the backing instrumentals. The raspy vocal style matches the production style and easily has no problems keeping up with the instrumentation. The anthem-styled feel of this song is what helps blend it all together.

    Act 2The Founding Group: Fallen Angels, Love Isn’t Always Fair and God Bless You

    Four days later and the smell of desert had finally stopped permeating his nostrils. He was in Los Angeles, and he couldn’t believe how wrong he was about the city. The sidewalks were cracked, the lights dim and the aura of tension seemed to dominate the atmosphere around him. He parked the car, put some coins in the graffiti covered meter and started to walk in the dimly lit streets at 11 PM. As the twin guitar lead of “Fallen Angels” kicked into gear, he turned the corner and accidently bumped into the ringleader of a group of seven leather clad adolescents tagging the back of an abandoned convenience store. There was a mutual understand as the two men smiled and shook hands, not knowing the events that would unfold that night. As the chorus kicked into gear, the gang took off down the middle of the street without a single limit in the world. Suddenly, an ambush made itself known as three cop cars came out of the murky darkness, two from the alleys and one from the street behind. The group split as the dueling guitars descended into a solo. Before they knew it, they were splitting off in different directions. Only two managed to escape, while the other six including our protagonist were pinned to the ground and cuffed.

    Two hours later and the tight clutch of the handcuff firmly keeps our protagonist planted to the chair in the office, next to the rest of his comrades. The drum fills at the beginning of “Love Isn’t Always Fair” bring attention to the clinking of a lock, the only female member of the gang has managed to pick herself out of her cuff using a paperclip she found on the floor near her chair. Within the hour they peeled out of the office into the fog that enveloped the surrounding areas of the city. The girl who brought the salvation of freedom to the group turned to our protagonist to ask his name; the look in her eyes and the tone of his voice broke the wall that she had put up all those years ago. As the song shifted to “God Bless You” and the guitar groove took over, the two of them took off in a separate direction from the rest of the group. They both knew the one place they had to go to, just them and no-one else. At that one moment, those two were the only people in the world.

    ”Never want it to stop, I want it all.”
    - Love Isn’t Always Fair

    These three tracks are where the tone starts to shift on the album. Fallen Angels is the continuation of the title track; with the lyricism and well placed vocal chants reflecting taking the ambition from the previous track and finding the right people to share that internal flame with. The guitar takes the spotlight in terms of instrumentation, helping to accentuate the infectious nature of the song; particularly in the chorus where the simple melodic lead is in perfect synchronization with the vocals. “Love Isn’t Always Fair” is propelled forward by almost nonstop technical picking with some nice drum footwork helping to keep the song at the tempo needed to transition into the next track. “God Bless You” rolls right on in afterword with a tight groove, nice riffing and some subdued drum fills and is another track that puts the raspy vocals to best use.

    Act 3Lovers Requiem: Rebel Love Song and Savior

    They had reached the canals of LA, reminiscent of Venice thousands of miles away. Just like this location their sudden attraction was unique to them, even if the rest of the world couldn’t understand or appreciate it. They had a lot to do, they knew nothing about each other or what lay in the future or what riddled their past. As they ran along the side of the channel, hands and fingers entwined with one-another, a manual rowboat caught their eye. The switchblade which had remained unused until now was put to the task, severing the rope and sending the two down the canal. They rested on their backs glancing up at the stars and the street lamps. Nothing could stop them, this broken world was all theirs to conquer, to change and to love.

    Our protagonist turned to his newfound love and began to divulge everything he had kept inside for so long, they didn’t even wait for each other to finish as the tears and words flowed out side by side like a rushing waterfall. The acoustic guitar juxtaposed with the rough vocals accompanied what happened next, as our protagonist pulled the girl close and held her head to his heart and promised to never let go and that she would never bleed again. As the higher register harsh vocals came forth in the climax of the song, the shrill screams matched what she had felt for all those years; unkempt emotion and the lack of a release. She finally had a purpose, and that purpose was our protagonist’s purpose. They filled the gaping hole in each other’s hearts.

    ”I never meant to be the one to keep you from the dark, but now I know my wounds are sown because of who you are.”
    - Savior

    Rebel Love Song and Savior are the most personal tracks on the album and are almost conflicting in the nature of their delivery but at the same time feel perfect together. Rebel Love Song doesn’t have any standout instrumental moments bar the solo; it’s a song that focuses completely on painting a picture by drawing you into the sound of the overall product itself. The faint bass line and drum work are the foundation that allows the guitar and vocals to pull you in with their silver-tongued charm. Savior is the softest track on the album; combining rough, hoarse vocals and a soft acoustic backdrop with fleeting guitar and drum lines fading in and out in various parts of the song before finishing with a heavier chugged guitar section to showcase the screams. The pacing of it remains slow throughout the song, which is perfect for the overall message of the song itself.

    Act 4The Final Stand: The Legacy, Die For You and Ritual

    With the groovy bass line in the intro of “The Legacy” changing the pace instantaneously, the sound of sirens pierced the air like a knife. The two miscreants quickly and without thinking, jumped out of the rowboat and swam to the riverbank, wondering what was going on. Their travels took them to a group of intersecting alleyways, in which the leader of their gang was holding a bystander hostage. The distorted and echoed riff following the solo propelled the leader’s words as he said he was going to put a bullet in the head of the scum who murdered his family. In a vain attempt, the girl ran out from the corner against the wishes of our protagonist. In the heat of the moment, a police baton came into contact with her temple, sending her crashing to the ground.

    Agonizing pain was all our protagonist felt, the riffs and build up in “Die For You” representing how those eyes which drew him in now lay on the ground in a pool of crimson blood. He drew his blade and rushed at the officer in a manic rage, before a shot came off from the right hand side behind the dumpster. As the soft guitar lines of Ritual guided our protagonist’s fall to the ground, his reality was snuffed out by another. Lives were cancelled that day, there would be no memorial. No-one would remember them, their legacies only fresh in the minds of the officers who received the call to drive to the scene.

    ”With every breath I feel you there, forbidden love is falling, your eyes sing despair.”
    - Die For You

    These songs all have defining characteristics and are more driven by their unique attributes rather than themselves as an overall product. The Legacy is heavily driven by the bass, as every instrumental for three quarters of the song revolves around keeping pace with it; only breaking that to dabble in the fruits of distortion for the small section between the two solos. Die For You is a slower paced song which relies on the guitar’s composition in the various small build ups in the song before the lead into the solo. Ritual is where everything mellows out with some soft yet powerful fretwork bringing the build up to some much needed closure.

    Act 5I Will Not Fail: Youth and Whiskey and Smoke and Mirrors

    Our protagonist woke up, the love of his life had her hand on his. He had drifted off in a nightmarish daydream, he turned to his love who he had just seen struck down in his head and then to the casket of his father which was being lowered into the ground. All of his regrets and the fact that he never got to say goodbye filled his mind and were almost too overwhelming to bear. The breakdown in “Youth and Whiskey” being the highlight of this, he wanted to scream but couldn’t. It wasn’t until the guitar picking filled intro of “Smoke and Mirrors” when he snapped out of his daze and realized that this was reality; it was time for him to make his life what it was. He knew closure was a myth and that it was time to live out his own legacy.

    ”Always chasing scars never gets you far.”
    - Smoke and Mirrors

    In conclusion, this album is the personification of a number of infinite realities that one can portray into their own music. The rough vocal style, the crisp guitars and technical song compositions only serve to bring that message to the forefront. So when you’re in the car at one in the morning and need a way to lose yourself for a while, pop in this CD and think of what you can do to enhance your life experience and bring out the best in yourself.


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