It’s been almost seven years since San Diego’s Pierce The Veil released their last album and in the fast-paced world of rock music, that can be eternity. Thankfully, no one forgot them (as their recent sold-out jaunt across the UK proved) but just in case, their latest album, The Jaws Of Life, acts as a tolling bell to call the faithful (and surely many more) new converts to hear their magic spell.
Pierce The Veil are a pleasantly hard to categorise band, over the years they’ve had tags as diverse as pop punk and metalcore thrown at them, but they’ve deftly sidestepped any genre definition. Evidencing their perpetual motion, The Jaws Of Life finds the band widening their sound to incorporate elements of ‘90s grunge, but long term fans needn’t worry; their core remains intact and if you need proof then check out the wrecking ball swing of opening track ‘Death Of An Executioner’. Making good use of musical dynamics that pits loud with quiet sections, it’s heavy yet infused with melody and its constant push and pull is fairly disorientating and will echo throughout.
My first contact with singles ‘Pass The Nirvana’ and ‘Emergency Contact’ was on the band’s recent tour and I’m pleased to report that the studio hasn’t blunted their power in any way. The former, in particular, packs a knockout punch with guitars that ring like warning sirens and some exceptionally good throat-shredding vocals from Vic Fuentes making for an arresting listen. This means that The Jaws Of Life isn’t the type of album you put on as background music, it gets in your face and shakes its stuff and demands your full attention. It is, however, best consumed in one sitting. Like an old school album, it ebbs and flows, and while not a concept record per se, it’s overarching aesthetic stitches all the songs together into a cohesive whole.
Akin to being caught in a mantrap, the lyrics on The Jaws Of Life concern the situations in life that can sink their teeth into you, and while this finds the band leading the listener down some dark avenues, never has the unlighted seemed so enticing than on cuts such as ‘Shared Trauma’ and the spiky and angular title track. Indicative of the album, the penultimate ’So Far So Fake’ marries serious lyricism to a strong sense of melody meaning it attacks your heart and head simultaneously. Featuring a guest spot from singer/songwriter Chloe Moriondo, final cut ‘Fractures’ makes for a rather ghostly conclusion and one that will haunt you long after the disc has stopped spinning.
It may have been seven long years since their last album, but it feels like Pierce The Veil haven’t missed a beat and while this might be a bold call for early February, The Jaws Of Life is certain to be one of 2023’s key releases.
- The Jaws Of Life is released via Fearless Records on 10th February 2023 and is available here.
- Official Website
- Death Of An Executioner
- Pass The Nirvana
- Even When I’m Not With You
- Emergency Contact
- Flawless Execution
- The Jaws Of Life
- Damn The Man, Save The Empire
- Irrational Fears (Interlude)
- Shared Trauma
- So Far So Fake