Pierce The Veil – ‘The Jaws Of Life’

By Dave Stewart

Pierce The Veil; it’s been a while, hasn’t it? The platinum-selling post-hardcore powerhouse released their last album ‘Misadventures’ in 2016, the release and touring cycle of which was followed by an extended period of inactivity. That time and distance drove a wedge in between the band, but despite all that darkness and overbearing weight, their love for playing music together brought them all back together to make their refreshing and positively bright return with their new album ‘The Jaws Of Life’. This is the band you already know, presented in a way that you don’t. Well, sort of.

The first taste that we were treated with came towards the end of 2022 in the form of ‘Pass The Nirvana’, a track that emits the grungiest overtones and came as a complete surprise. Vocalist Vic Fuentes’ voice sounds as emotionally fuelled and edgy as ever, using the verses to flex his melody muscles before unleashing his demons in the choruses. An unusual choice for a first single, some might say – an aggressive chorus with catchy verses, not the other way around – but it worked, and it told everyone that heard it that not only are they back, but they have evolved. This, fortunately, is just the surface of the wonders that lie deeper within this album. 

Opener ‘Death Of An Executioner’ is a bouncy and bold throwback to the Pierce The Veil we already know and love. Big emo-styled vocals, gritty chord progressions with the tiniest dark details creeping in when you least expect them, and it’s the perfect way to begin their returning record. The soft but piercing belter ‘Emergency Contact’ provides a dose of the same, stripping back the intensity ever-so-slightly to let Fuentes’ clever lyrics take centre stage, such as the instantly memorable line “you choke on your words but you swallow them faster”. There’s other nostalgia-tinged tracks, like the moody ‘So Far So Fake’ and the gritty and sleazy ‘Damn The Man, Save The Empire’, but this record goes way deeper than that. They are that band you know, but they’ve spent the last few years evolving.

As a whole, this record just feels a little more thought out than their back catalogue. All the songs have their own feel and vibe, they’re all structured differently, but despite that they all fit into the new world that Pierce The Veil now reside in. The title track is a prime example of this, opening with choral harmonies and a delicately played lick that erupts into a huge elegant riff. The rest of the track rises and falls like the tide, the verses and bridges picking up momentum to help the choruses crash against your ears. ’Even When I’m Not With You’ is an almost lo-fi RnB track, with a distant distorted riff providing a backbone for the electronic drums that alls sits beneath Fuentes’ simple yet infectious vocal melodies. There’s the laid back shoegazey vibes gushing out of ‘Flawless Execution’, the heartbreaking power of ‘Resilience’, the atmospheric and colourful closing track ’12 Fractures’ that features a luscious guest vocal from Chloe Moriondo – it’s wonderfully put together, and they sound more focused and confident than ever.

If you’re a long time fan of the band, ‘The Jaws Of Life’ will fill you with all the nostalgia and emotional responses that they’ve become so adept at communicating, now with a heightened sense of class and maturity. This is easily the most grown up and accomplished that the band has ever sounded, and it isn’t even close. You can hear them growing as people and songwriters in their old material, sure, but the last six or seven years have clearly been pretty transformative for them and it really shines through these songs. Every track feels direct and intentional, each one having a life of its own, and all together the album it really does take you on a journey. There are contemplative moments, dark passages, stomach-turning plunges and elating highs, and Fuentes and crew guide you through them like water along a stream. 

A tactful, potent and graceful return for a much loved, dearly missed band, and it’s so good to have them back. Can we please make sure it isn’t seven years until the next one?


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