If there’s one thing Pierce the Veil knows, it’s how to write a record. More on that later; the San Diego four-piece, now on their 3rd release entitled Collide with the Sky (and first with Fearless Records), are once again shutting up all of the haters who tend to seek the band out for ridicule. This release packs even more of a punch than their former releases in terms of aggressiveness, but relies more on experimentation and at times even abnormal sections that give their music an ever-so-satisfying fire.
If you’re familiar with their previous records, Selfish Machines and A Flair for the Dramatic, you’ll feel right at home with this one. It’s also not so different that it may alienate new fans or old ones. There are songs that blend styles of both albums, encapsulating stronger punk vibes that they proclaim are their grassroots, and they’re right about that. Everything on this record feels right at home, in the pocket, and comfortable – without getting too comfortable though. For example, opener “May These Noises Startle You in Your Sleep Tonight” kicks things off with a sickeningly catchy (in a good way) drum/guitar rhythm that will get you up off your ass and ready to get your feet off of the ground, much in the same way as Selfish Machines opener “Besitos” does. Heading straight into “Hell Above,” the energy continues non-stop in typical PTV flair. Each of the four-piece are at their best from the start, especially when Vic Fuentes croons “I met a girl who never looked so alone/like sugar water in your mouth, lukewarm” in the second verse. This track is fueled with insatiable energy, in PTV style, and with the addition of an unexpected but breathtaking breakdown in the bridge, you know what kind of adventure you’re in for.
Following right after is “A Match Into Water,” another eccentric track that highly reminisces of AFFTD, mainly because of Fuentes’ knack for layering wall upon wall of gorgeous harmonies and background vocals and Tony Perry’s increasingly dynamic guitar riffs. Trade for trade, Fuentes and Perry bounce off of each other in such a format you wouldn’t be able to tell that they are two different guitarists. Speaking of instrumentation, drummer Mike Fuentes and bassist Jaime Preciado hold the backbone of the band in sporadic but furious fashion, constantly changing up the momentum and never letting any kind of staleness set in. “King for a Day” is another electrically charged song with the first of three guest vocal appearances on the record, this one by Kellin Quinn of Sleeping With Sirens. A live staple for a long time to come, there are all kinds of enjoyable moments to be found on this moving song – especially with Fuentes and Quinn’s playful trade-off on the vocal department. “Bulls in the Bronx” is another punk-tinged number with a serious lyrical underbelly, being about the suicide of a young fan of theirs. Definitely a moving number, and you’ll be able to feel it.
“Props & Mayhem” takes a step back from the heavy and relies more on a straightforward character. This song highlights the band at another one of their more melodic moments, and Preciado’s bass lines give it a groove and make it stand out. “Tangled in the Great Escape” is easily one of the best songs on the record, but it’s the unparalleled songwriting and build-up to the absolutely breathtaking finale to the song that’s so entrancing. Fuentes and guest vocalist Jason Butler of letlive trade off in true guest vocal fashion (not just having the person in the song for just one verse or chorus), and their unique style of harmony is enthralling. Both of them have soul, and you’ll figure that out on this amazing song. “I’m Low on Gas and You Need a Jacket” is a slight curve ball in terms of songwriting, but it works well and serves as a nice bridge in the transfer from the first half of the record to the latter half. Lyrically it’s intriguing as well because it’s obviously about strippers. “The First Punch” takes the heavy back up a notch and delivers a big ‘fuck you’ to shady musicians, as they’ve stated in a new interview that MEB staffer Ridge Briel did with them just recently at Warped Tour (which you can view here). This one really rocks and rolls.
“One Hundred Sleepless Nights” brings back a pounding groove right from the start with an insanely catchy intro and a driving chorus that’s laced with an exemplary performance from Preciado and Mike Fuentes especially. “Stained Glass Eyes and Colorful Tears” kicks off with a vibraphone-filled intro before heading into straight-up AFFTD territory (“She Sings in the Morning,” “The Cheap Bouquet”) but with a higher emphasis on production -which by the way is fantastic the entire way through courtesy of Dan Korneff and the House of Loud Studio in New Jersey. Closing out with “Hold on Till May,” a peaceful but somber tone dominates this track. There’s a large amount of tasteful programming that bounces around, and it works wonders with the band’s style of layering tons of instrumentation under the walls of the main instruments. The third guest vocal featuring Lindsey Stamey of Oh No Fiasco is short but gorgeous, utilizing her soulful crooning in a brilliant moment of the song. Ultimately, the song goes out in typical PTV fashion: with an uplifting end to symbolize the record’s overall message.
Pierce the Veil have crafted another brilliant release to add to their roster of fantastic records, and minus a couple tiny pitfalls (mainly “I’m Low On Gas..” as the only forgettable track), the band have topped themselves once again and silenced the haters. One thing you’ll always enjoy about their music is how it translates live, and these songs will inevitably make their incredible performances that much more satisfying. I continue to see them making their way up the post-hardcore ladder, and with more adventurous experimentation as you’ll find on this record, there’s potential for a groundbreaking album later on down the road. Way to go gentlemen, way to go.