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5.10.11

Black Veil Brides - 'Set The World On Fire' (lava - universal) 4.5/5

Ok, I've been putting reviewing this on off long enough, time to bite the bullet. Now I know hollywood glam revaivalists BlackVeil Brides are a bit of a marmite act. Everyone I know either praises them as the future of rock and roll, or dismisses them out of hand as 'teenie bopping Kiss clones'  and very rarely I do meet anyone with a take it leave it stand point. As for me I've been living with BVB for a while now (the girlfriend is a HUGE fan, to the point of having Andy Biersack posters up around the flat)  and I  have been trying to keep an open mind and judge the band and their music for what it really is, rather be be swayed by the opinions and preconceptions of others.

Now, as you can guess I've got to know this record pretty well over recent days and weeks, and surprisingly I'm still not sick of it. My first impression was that it was a musically very good record, and I still feel that way. The band are tight, more than competent on the playing side of things, they have a fine line in writing very catchy but reasonably intelligent hard rock tracks, and to me far importantly they are not afraid to wear a few influences on their nylon net shirt sleeves. Opener New Religion has a waft of Dokken about it with Jake Pitts even provides some George Lynch style little widdles to punctuate the song. On God Bless You we get some classic Ratt style hair metal riffage coupled with a nice commercial hooky chorus that manages to keep itself firmly on the right side of pop rock cheese.  Rebel Love Song is a fantastic glam metal rock out that reminds me bit of Welsh glam kings Tigertailz; even the unavoidable power ballad Saviour, manages to keep itself listenable with a Scorpions style build up and some primal scream vocals at the climax.Other noticeable influences include AFI, Kiss (natch) and even some old school Saxon style metal.

OK before you say, "so what they have ripped all their fave elements and made a sound out of it" I will tell you that all bands do this, show me a musician who will not honestly state who and what has influenced him and point where he has used that influence and I'll show you a man who speaketh with forked tongue. The bottom line is that although you can see clearly where BVB are coming from the final whole is still packed in one all encompassing sound and style that is unquestionably  the Black Veil Brides.

As for the band image, which I think provides a stumbling block for just as many people it attracts, all I can say is so what? Whether the idea to follow the glam goth road came from the band, their record company, or a combination of both I care not. It's nothing new. Every musical generation has those who decide to experiment with make up, face paint and / or teen baiting androgyny... from Screaming Lord Sutch, Bowie, Kiss and Alex Harvey, via Twisted Sister, Poison and Mercyful Fate to Marylin Mansun, Slipknot and beyond. Evey generation needs musical heroes to act as a mummy shocker, and for the modern teenies BVB are it. It only should become an issue when it becomes a case of style over substance, and that is definately not the case here. So they are all good looking lads who girls scream and throw themselves at? whats the problem? jealousy? cos isn't it a position we all have dreamed about being in at somepoint?

In short, this is a great record, look beyond the image and get into the music on offer, cos this is an album to take note of.

for fans of... Kids In Glass Houses, Avenged Sevenfold, 30 Seconds To Mars, Ratt, Dokken, Motley Crue etc...

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