REVIEW: Black Veil Brides – Set The World On Fire

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Artist: Black Veil Brides
Album: Set The World On Fire
Genre: Rock

Bands today are in a uniquely difficult situation, they have so many resources at their disposal, but so does everyone else out there that wants to start a band, and that isn’t always a good thing; bands are starting to get desperate. The undisputed authorities in the music industry are unsure about what the future holds, obviously the music industry won’t just die out, that would never happen, but it is in the process of being reborn into something new, something completely different than what everyone was used to, and certainly different than what has become the norm in the industry today. What everyone can agree on, is that we’re in a transitionary period at the moment, and things aren’t likely to level out for another five to ten years. But in the mean time, bands still have to make a living, and people still have to listen to something. And while it’s easy for bands to get a basic following thanks to all the social media outlets at their disposal, continuing on to something bigger has become nearly impossible.

Do you like Of Mice And Men? Cool. If they don’t put out another album soon enough, don’t worry, there are dozens more bands out there waiting to take their place. Any two bands can sound exactly the same these days, so they need to resort to even more desperate attempts to set themselves apart, and try and gain some staying power. And the kings of pandering to their fans, is (the) Black Veil Brides. The whole premise of these gimmicks is really convenient for a band when they have no real musical creativity, so they don’t have to worry about that, and instead, put all their efforts into creating a solid and recognizable image for themselves. Now, this does take work, but in the world of music, a memorable image should never be an acceptable substitute for musical content. And when it comes to Black Veil Brides, and more specifically their new album, Set The World On Fire, it’s painfully obvious that the band spent much more time working on their image and putting themselves together for their fans, than they did on the songs that make up the album. And that is precisely the reason why the music industry is at a stalemate of sorts, no one wants to support an image, they want music to listen to, they want to be entertained. Black Veil Brides should not expect fans to simply fund their Hot Topic shopping sprees.

As far as the album itself goes, well, there really isn’t all that much to say, I wouldn’t be surprised if the band spent more time putting on their make up than they did writing these songs. They more or less sound like an awful Avenged Sevenfold rip off. One that wouldn’t even have been considered good back when sounding like Avenged Sevenfold was cool. One little trait that seems to be a common theme throughout the album is lead guitar work that sounds difficult, like the solo in the opening track, “New Religion” when in reality, it’s mostly just tremolo picking that is really a lot easier than it sounds. But that is actually a very fitting analogy for the theme of the band, making it look like they’re putting in more effort than they actually are. There are parts of this album that are just downright confusing, they are very prominent moments that made it very clear that these guys don’t know how to put together a song. The intro to “Fallen Angels” just sounds like a mistake really, I can’t for the life of me figure out what they were trying to accomplish. If I wanted to listen to a bad band that sounded like Avenged Sevenfold, I’d listen to Avenged Sevenfold. But I don’t want to.

All said, Black Veil Brides’ music is abhorrent, and in all respects, I truly dislike the band; their complete lack of musical imagination, their utter dependance on using their image to earn themselves fans, and the shock-value image they depend on. But despite all those inherent flaws that disqualify them as a legitimate band, at least by my standards, they do have a seriously loyal and devoted cult following, and that’s simply because of vocalist “Andy Six”’s exceptionally brilliant marketing tactics, which paid off, especially considering the completely lack of musical depth, and some credit is deserved for that, even if it’s sort of a hollow victory. But that certainly doesn’t excuse the fact that this album is in no way even listenable.

Score: 2/10
Review written by: Michael Hogan

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • LedZepBen

    First off, this review is incredibly biased. While its clear that the reviewer has a problem with Black Veil Brides, it becomes particularly clear he has a problem with that genre of music in general. This happens ALL THE TIME where people who dont like a certain genre of music end up reviewing it and contribute NOTHING intelligent or even close to worthy of being called a review. Second, he makes about zero substantial points, okay, the guitar playing may not be that hard, but a LOT isnt, its the writing and how a riff SOUNDS that matters, not its difficulty, get over it. If this “review” made a single attempt to explain why this music is bad or why this is the stuff killing the music industry, i’d have some respect for the guy, he can like whatever he wants. That being said, he makes no attempt to do so, and his commentary on BVB and bands like them (A7X and Of Mice and Men) proves he isnt fit to even give his opinion on them, as no one wants to hear someone who hates that type of music bitch and pretend he knows what he’s talking about.