For long-time listeners of post-hardcore band Pierce The Veil (PTV), hearing the first 20 seconds of “Death of an Executioner,” the first song on the band’s new album, is a religious experience. It has been nearly seven years since the release of “Misadventures,” the most recent album by the group until their midnight release of “The Jaws of Life” on Friday, Feb. 10.
The album marks the group’s first record without the band’s former drummer, Mike Fuentes, brother of lead vocalist and guitarist Vic Fuentes. The drummer was accused of statutory rape by multiple fans in 2017 and went on hiatus from the group two months later.
Following the first song “Death of an Executioner” is the second track “Pass the Nirvana,” the first single released before the album’s drop. The other two singles released before the full album follow as the third and fourth tracks.
The song “Misadventures” took fans by surprise with more upbeat lyrics, blended with the band’s signature melancholic post-hardcore sound. Unlike some associated acts though, PTV managed to retain its fan base through its growth in addition to pulling new listeners in.
The album has more of a hip-hop influence than previous work by the band, a choice not surprising from musicians in recent years. However, this is not necessarily the case for all songs on the album. Bands like Bring Me the Horizon, historically associated in the metalcore scene, shifted to incorporate more hip-hop and electronic inspired sound in the last several years.
Pierce the Veil retains their original sound in this shift, though, opting only to bestow a few songs with an electronic feel — a choice that will no doubt please long-time fans. The electronic and hip hop influences are especially clear in tracks “Shared Trauma” and “Pass the Nirvana.”
The band has protected its reputation for beautifully written, unique guitar riffs throughout the album. Vic Fuentes continues to write self-degrading lyrics, but the overall tone of most tracks is more optimistic than the band’s first three albums.
Pierce the Veil’s first three albums maintained an undertone of depression, but “Misadventures” and “The Jaws of Life”express that the singer is happy and grateful for life’s positives, despite a recurring sense of gloom hanging over him. “So Far So Fake” certainly has the saddest vibe on the album, with “Flawless Execution” coming in second.
Underlying the new album is a recognition that life is hard, but also beautiful. On the album’s sixth track and namesake, Fuentes sings, “I’m having the time of my life, rotting in the sun. We’re inside the jaws of life.”
The album’s last song, “12 Fractures,” features Detroit-born singer Chloe Moriondo and blends an indie pop sound with a futuristic intro. Moriondo has over two million monthly listeners on Spotify, with top tracks titled “Silly Girl” and “I Want To Be With You.”
Fearless Records, the same label that produced “Misadventures” and the iconic 2012 album “Collide with the Sky,” also produced the track “The Jaws of Life.” The record label is known for production for bands like Oceans Ate Alaska and Plain White T’s.
As a whole, the band’s new album marks a shift to a softer, simpler approach. One thing has not changed, though — Pierce the Veil is a master of blending gorgeous instrumentals, backgrounds instruments, poetic lyrics and artful vocals.