Late last month, Black Veil Brides released its new EP, The Mourning through Sumerian Records. The four-song record’s release came Oct. 21, roughly a year after the release of the band’s then latest album, The Phantom Tomorrow, which was a musical and stylistic turning point for the band. The band continued that change with this, its ninth studio recording and third EP. The band is currently on the road with Ice Nine Kills and Motionless in White as part of the Trinity of Terror tour in support of the record, whose musical and lyrical content clearly shows that continued change of sound and style. ‘Better Angels,’ which closes the EP, is one of the most notable of the record’s entries. It will be discussed shortly. On the exact other end of the record is its opener, ‘Devil,’ which will be examined a little later. ‘Saviour II’ is yet another standout addition to the EP and will also be examined later. When it is considered alongside the other songs noted here and with the EP’s one remaining song, ‘The Revival,’ the whole makes The Mourning easily one of the year’s top new EPs.
The Mourning, the third new EP from Black Veil Brides (and the band’s ninth new studio recording), is a strong new offering from the band. That is proven through its musical and lyrical content alike. The record’s finale, ‘Better Angels’ is just one of the songs that makes that clear. The melodic hard rock approach that the band takes in the song’s musical arrangement makes the song just as accessible as works from so many other similar bands, mainstream and independent. Comparisons can be made to works from the likes of Awake At Last, Saint Asonia, and Bullet for my Valentine. This is not to say that BVB has not composed some melodic hard rock songs throughout its history, but comparing much of its early catalog to a work, such as this song, the difference is clear, and it makes the song here just as accessible as works from the noted bands and so many others.
The arrangement featured here actually works well with the song’s lyrical theme. That is because the song’s theme seems to come from the vantage overcoming one’s mental health struggles, to a point. This is inferred in the song’s lead verse and chorus, which state collectively, “I feel the hope turn into comfort/Like the death of my nerves/Your heart is stinging from the hatred/As humanity burns/So let me find the words just to say it/Your mind is a villain/Go back to hell with all your demons/Leave me alone/To find the pieces inside my mind/They came in to control my life/And all the devils devour/Your better angels devour. The song’s second verse adds even more to that thought pattern as it states, “Our fear is all we have to suffer/In the violent new world/These scars and vanity can’t save us/Now it’s time for the storm.” This seeming theme is certain to resonate with audiences, especially being that it seems to present a message of overcoming those negative thoughts and feelings that would otherwise control a person, not just thoughts of depression and self-hatred, either. When this seeming message pairs with the song’s powerful musical arrangement, the whole makes ‘Better Angels’ a clear example of what makes The Mourning worth hearing.
‘Better Angels’ is just one of the most notable additions to The Mourning. The EP’s opener, ‘Devil’ is notable in its own right. That is due in part because of its musical arrangement. Instead of the pure melodic hard rock approach used in ‘Better Angels,’ the band opts for a more metalcore style composition in this song’s verses while incorporating the melodic hard rock approach in the choruses. The cutting guitars, and machine-gun style rapidity of the metalcore style verses make the song immediately comparable to works from the likes of Killswitch Engage, The Black Dahlia Murder, and to a lesser extent, early As I Lay Dying. The vocals especially add to that comparison to works from KsE, as they are so comparable to that band’s former front man Howard Jones. The melodic hard rock side of the song is more comparable to works from the likes of Sevendust. The juxtaposition of those comparisons makes the overall arrangement so interesting and well worth hearing in its own right.
The energy and richness in the song’s arrangement does just as well to pair with its lyrical theme. That is because of the clear frustration exhibited in what comes across quite as a social commentary. The commentary opens with front man Andy Biersack sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “How the f*** is one so evil left to just proceed/All the luck and how deceitful that idle minds can be/Farewell to vanished fraud/So here comes the fall/Your blood has all been washed away/You left with a crawl/The end was worth the wasted days/The devil lies alone.” The commentary continues in the song’s second verse, “Come sell me useless greed/And swindle, lie and cheat/’Cause nothing matters when only truth is obsolete.” That last line about truth being obsolete leads to an inference that maybe the commentary centers on what has happened in the world with truth taking a back seat to people’s false realities. This is just this critic’s interpretation. The early note of wondering how one so evil could just progress, to that end, would seemingly be a commentary wondering how people like Donald Trump and his cult members could be left to go on doing what they do. Again, this is just this critic’s interpretation. Hopefully it is somewhere close to being right. Either way, the seeming message and the way in which it is delivered certainly makes for plenty of thought and discussion. To that end, the song shows even more why it stands out in The Mourning.
‘Saviour II,’ the EP’s second track and lead single, is yet another notable addition to the record. The song’s musical arrangement is continues the melodic hard rock approach taken by the band in the EP. The different here is that in this case, it is actually more of a throwback to some of the melodic hard rock compositions that the band had produced in its past records while also being just as radio ready as any of the other songs featured in this record. From Breaking Benjamin to Default to so many others, the arrangement here is just as accessible as their works and so many other of the band’s fellow mainstream bands.
The lyrical theme that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement makes for even more interest. The theme here comes across as something as a contemplative piece focusing on moving past experiences in life. This is inferred as Biersack sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “I never knew how to live alone/Holding my fear in the unknown/And if we only speak in tongues/How can we be heard/Are there songs to guard your heart/Let this be the one you use to start your own/And every word that came from you/Has carried me/So I’m trying my hardest to be what you made/Like a court jester/My smile won’t fade/Giving it all/Rising to fall to my grave/Answer the call/Living in thrall/You’re the one born to save.” That mention of trying to be what someone made, keeping the smile, it seems like the song’s subject is addressing having to live a lie, hiding so many thoughts and emotions behind that smile. It would certainly seem to point at the noted inferred theme. The inference continues in the song’s second verse, which states, “I grew this heart in a motor car/I wear a mask to be a star/All of the heat and anxiety that still lines the road/It is all I ever thought I’d live for/Now I know I’m more than all of my scars.” That mention of being more than one’s scars points to the song’s subject overcoming the emotional and mental damage caused by the past, moving on with life. It is a powerful seeming statement that even further hints at the noted theme. Keeping such a seeming theme (and one that is all too familiar with any rock fan) in mind, the contemplative nature of the theme and the equally contemplative nature of the song’s arrangement makes the song in whole all the more interesting. When the whole is considered overall, it makes ‘Saviour II’ clearly another important part of The Mourning. When the song is considered alongside the other two songs examined here and with the EP’s one remaining song, the whole makes The Mourning a complete success.
The Mourning, the latest studio recording from Black Veil Brides, is an impressive new offering from the veteran hard rock act. That is proven through its musical and lyrical content alike. The songs examined here make that clear. When the songs examined are considered along with the record’s one remaining track, the whole makes The Mourning a welcome addition to this year’s field of new EPs.
The Mourning is available now through Sumerian Records. More information on the EP is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
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