May the world of emo punk rejoice. Seven suspenseful years since the release of their last record in 2016, Pierce the Veil has made a triumphant return with their fifth studio album Jaws of Life; reminding the music scene, as well as anyone with a Hot Topic membership, that this group is very much alive, kicking, biting and screaming.
Since emerging from San Diego, CA. in 2006, and making their presence widely known during the height of music’s emo renaissance, Pierce the Veil has previously released four full-length albums of thrashing progressive-rock for bleeding hearts.
Never shying away from the experimental side of noisemaking, their latest fifth installment fits perfectly into the band’s reinventive repertoire of music that is as intrinsically erratic as it is artistically abstract.
Staying true to their signature post-hardcore sound and marked by an ever-evolving quality that keeps every release sounding fresh, Jaws of Life demonstrates Pierce the Veil’s consistent ability to combine vulnerable, razor-sharp songwriting with dynamic, live-wire composition.
Think of it like a jet-black love letter, fuelled by an appetite for self-destruction. A time capsule of mid 00’s nostalgia, complete with a layer of gasoline and the casual toss of a match.
Pierce the Veil live in Toronto at Rebel. (@Truffleimages / The B-Side)
‘Emergency Contact,’ released as an initial single, expresses the choking mentality of a therapy patient with an intimate preference for whose name goes on their intake form. With lyricism that’s both dark and explicitly heartfelt, the track is as cleverly tongue-in-cheek as it is an amicable declaration of love.
“Therapy is tiring/ But so is hiding how you feel/ You can bring the villainy/ And I can bring the sex appeal.”
Renowned for cranking out poetic lyricism with a punchline, Pierce the Veil has managed to capture their personal essence on this new record with the ease of a band comfortable in their own skin.
‘The Jaws Of Life,’ is an ode to life’s ongoing horror show-, and what makes it all worth living. A quintessential emo ballad featuring heavy, anthem-esque guitar riffs, this title track capitalizes on a sense of reckless abandon that serves as an overarching theme throughout the album.
Lead guitarist Tony Perry performing live in Toronto with Pierce the Veil on Oct. 5, 2022. (@Truffleimages / The B-Side)
‘Resilience,’ brings bittersweet nostalgia for teenage rebellion to the forefront, opening with a sample of dialogue from the classic coming-of-age film Dazed and Confused (1993). The melody begins with a lonely plucking of acoustic guitar, followed by an emotive, harmonic bridge that builds into a chorus aching with permanent memories of simpler times.
‘Pass The Nirvana,’ is just the kind of heavy-duty headbanger one would come to expect from Pierce the Veil. Another pre-released single, this tribute to troublemaking is the perfect soundtrack for a getaway driver speeding off from the scene of a crime.
The song showcases a euphoric bliss of increasing tension, before the bass explodes like a molotov cocktail. In the epitome of punk-rock fashion, it poses the question, “If you didn’t come home injured/ Would you say it was a good show?”
(@Truffleimages / The B-Side)
Ever since modern pop-culture’s recent fascination with emo revival, several bands who originated from the same sleazy mid 00’s rock scene have attempted to develop a more ‘mature’ image-, altering their sound, and losing their original disheveled charm along the way.
On the contrary, Pierce the Veil authentically embodies what most artists today can only imitate and never quite duplicate. Jaws of Life is a conceptually candid, cutting-edge synopsis of a band who is still very much in their prime, and knows exactly what their music has to offer their audience.
Rather than straying from their identity, Pierce the Veil has reinforced their high-voltage reputation with an embellishment of studs and spikes. Their fifth album, available to stream Feb. 10, is a welcomed punch to the face-, and this one’s definitely gonna leave a mark.
Jess Bertan for The B-Side.