With a new record deal, the guys hit the studio with the dual talents of Dan Korneff and Kato Khandwal. Having worked with the likes of A Day To Remember, Papa Roach and My Chemical Romance, their CV/resume’s are of a ridiculously high-calibre. “It's about freeing yourself from the things that are breaking or falling apart in your life, and inspiring a sense of hope from the desperation” cleared up the frontman and only non-tattooed member of the band about the theme behind the album and its striking watercolour artwork. Getting down to the music, in true Pierce The Veil fashion, they open their opus with an ominous and dramatic introduction titled, ‘May These Noises Startle You In Your Sleep Tonight’. “If you wanted to set me free! Why the fuck wouldn’t you say something?” Vic’s echoed screeches begin. As his enraged monologue finishes, it dives straight into the brilliant 'Hell Above' which as well as sounding as sharp as a blade, is charged with a rapid fire rhythm, mariachi spiced guitar riffs and a chorus that won’t ever leave you. Their leading soprano's ear-piercing tone has always been the band's defining sound and here it’s no different; always perfectly evoking the passion of the songs' words and meanings.
'A Match Into Water' has a hardcore punk foundation with syncopated beats that are slick and effortless. More unclean vocals surround the main melody adding a bite to it; especially as it leads into a meaty albeit brief breakdown with the repeated spine-tingling roars of "I bring the tidal wave!" Although excellent, it’s followed by 'King For A Day' which wins ‘Best Track’ on Collide With The Sky for me. It’s the albums 'Caraphernelia' (big hit from Selfish Machines’) - the strong lead single which is most likely everyone's favourite. It's everything I love about Pierce The Veil in one track - melody, ferocity, storytelling, fun and energy. Here they’ve paired up with one Mr Kellin Quinn of Floridian post-hardcore gang, Sleeping With Sirens who brings another high pitched, passionate performance to the mix. To some, it's overkill but I love the pairs' duelling tones and interaction with each other; both exercising melodic and unclean phrases with equal power. With a hugely catchy refrain and chorus plus a brilliant post-hardcore scorched breakdown, it's a must-hear. Oh and a bank heist music video is always a good thing.
Watch 'King For A Day':
'Bulls In The Bronx' starts thrashing and pounding from the offset. Underlying piano notes add that theatrical flair again and with a break of fast handclaps and an impressive flamenco guitar melody, the boys have once again set themselves apart from the ‘scene’. “Maybe we’re just having too much fun. Maybe you can’t handle yourself. Staring at me with your lips and tongue” the singer preaches in the choruses. More piano ends the track as it heads into 'Props & Mayhem'; its slower paced groove and sweet main melody bringing a change in atmosphere. "Ooh" and "Ahh" backing vocals fill the air and emphasise the love story unfolding. “So dance if it moves you and jump in the fire if it burns you. I’ll throw my arms around you darlin’ and we’ll turn to ashes”. 'Tangled In The Great Escape' brings us the albums second guest appearance in the form of Letlive. frontman, Jason Butler (or stuntman/stripper to those who've seen the hardcore/punksters' explosive live performances) It's a really intelligent track which has grown on me with every listen. There are progressive elements and jazz inspired phrases much like Jason and his gang like to experiment with. Although it's by no means soft, as amongst the tortured melancholic piano chords and steady crooning there are dark, gritty riffs and heavy handed cymbal crashes. I particularly love the closing minute as you’re left with just the sound of a piano and Mr Butler in a jazz club moment of sorts - “I never meant to hurt nobody. I never meant to hurt you, no! I only meant to do this to myself!” he confesses in his smooth and smoky tone.
Listen to 'Tangled In The Great Escape':
'I’m Low On Gas And You Need A Jacket' sounds like an overly descriptive title that Brand New would have conjured up and it is indeed a bittersweet love song with gloomy words not far from their own. “So keep in happiness and torture me while I tell you let’s go in style...Let’s go outside, it’ll be alright” the singer pleads; his vocals echoed at times signifying a distance between him and the girl in question. The band slows things down considerably and although it’s pretty dark, as usual with a Pierce The Veil song, the detailed storytelling sucked me right in. The second half isn’t all doom and gloom however. 'The First Punch' is a car chase of a song that soars, veers and crashes with a breakneck speed and buzzing hardcore energy. And 'One Hundred Sleepless Nights' has a hugely catchy and melodious refrain with more likeable “Ooh” backing vocals that cower behind passionate shrieks and cries. It's not until closer 'Hold On Till May' that the mood softens a little, although the ballad-like opening soon grows with a fire and passion. It also has the last and only female vocal collaboration on the record in the form of Lindsey Stamey of Oh No Fiasco; bringing a naivety and sweetness to what appears to be another lovelorn tale.
Pierce The Veil have done it again. Collide With The Sky is a fantastic album that ticks all the boxes when it comes to what makes me tick in the musical world. The storytelling and its romanticism paired with brawny rock and exciting dramatic touches puts them ahead of the game, especially in an over-crowded post-hardcore scene. The progression they’ve made in a couple of years is clear and I’m so pleased that they’re now receiving just as much love outside of the States than they are at home. It’s a clear sign that there’s much more to come from them. I caught them live on their current UK tour at their sold-out London show (review to come!) and from the reaction they got there alone, it can only mean they’re headed in one direction.
Collide With The Sky is out now.
Worth Listening To...
- Hell Above
- King For A Day
- Tangled In The Great Escape
- The First Punch