Pierce The Veil share stories of love, mental health and life struggles on their triumphant return Jaws Of Life

Pierce the Veil is back and stronger than ever. 

Pierce The Veil have returned with their heavily anticipated album Jaws Of Life, their first album since 2016’s Misadventures. Excitement for this release was high: people were excited to see if they would change up their sound or, most importantly, if the album live up to the excitement. 

I can answer those questions.

This album is full of energy, strong vocals from start to finish, rocking, fantastic instrumentals, cohesive sounds and lyrics and just an overall well-produced album. It sounds clean and polished, but still has the rock edge. It has the sound of a band with the veteran experience of Pierce The Veil, but is not a perfect polished sound, allowing the rock edge to seep through. 

Every track contains roaring guitars, driving drums and strong bass. Mix that with a wide range of vocals and it creates a listening experience that has you hooked from the go. As a listener, you are transported into just a world of sound. Each part competing to gain your attention, but working in harmony to blend as one cohesive sound. Nothing sounds harsh or out of place. If one part is louder or more powerful, it only adds to the overall sound, emotion and story of the track.

The underlying themes of the album are mental health, relationship and life experiences overall. The track “Even When I’m Not With You” describes how you are constantly thinking of a person even when you are not together. You feel happy when you are with them and that life is going to work out. That can be seen on lines like “Look how far we’ve come/ Think I’ve finally won (won, won, won)” and “Even when I’m not with you, I’m still with you.”

Then on “Emergency Contact,” we hear Vic yearning to be the one the person he cares about leans on. He sings “Just want to be your emergency contact” and “Things that I want, this happily ever after”. The lyrics tell the story of a relationship that may have ended or is going wrong, but the narrator is still holding on and wants things to work out. Adding on to the feeling of yearning and wanting to move forward is the rolling rhythm and created with drums and guitar. It keeps the song moving forward and fast paced, similar to what the narrator wants to happen. 

On songs like “Jaws of Life,” “Resilience” and “Shared Trauma,” we take a peek into the world of mental health and trauma. “Jaws of Life” describes the different parts of Vic. It feels like parts of him are contradicting each other and he is just trying to navigate life. These constant contradictions and difficulties we face he says “Rotting in the sun, we’re inside/the jaws of life,” it is what we all have to go through as part of life. On “Resilience” it talks about overcoming trauma, something hard in life. That is emphasized with the chorus, “you’re jealous of my resilience.” He is singing to the other person and trying to portray that he is stronger and that they tried to crush him, but he got back up. Whether or not that is true does not matter, he is trying to prove to himself that he is doing okay. Even when we are not doing okay, we tell ourselves we are, we put on a front. While we may not be okay, we do not want to let that show. 

“Shared Trauma” sees the idea of mental health, relationships, and major traumatic life events coming together. This song discusses how the two people share trauma and nothing will ever break that bond. They are tied together through that, whether they like it or not. These shared experiences are affecting each of them, and for Vic, he is worried how it will affect their relationship. He sings “I’m afraid/That all my veins and never-ending tragedies/Will bleed my heart empty/And scare your love away.” He is scared that what has happened will ruin what they have. Many listening can relate to the fear of losing a relationship that they cherish. The feeling of something has happened that will tear them apart for good. 

While the majority of the album is full of the larger, in your face moments, the closing track “12 Fractures” featuring Chloe Moriondo takes it down a notch. It has a more toned down instrumental feel. The bass opening is groovy and has your foot tapping. It has moments where the instrumental slightly builds, but then goes back down. It is a very simple song. Both sound fantastic on the track. It definitely surprised me at first as this is the closing song, but it works. It brings contrast to the other loud, in-your face tracks on the album. It is an honest track about the end of a relationship and how they loved one another. But now it is over. The lyrics tell the story without the loud roaring guitars and pounding drums. 

However, the rest of the tracks on the album are the opposite. They create an atmosphere of sound that keeps you hooked the entire time. From the very first song, “Death of Executioner,” your ears are full of sound, the album is moving and it does not stop. This song is heavy on the guitar and drums with a breakdown towards the end of the song and a roaring guitar riff that ties back to the beginning of the song. It also introduces the use of electronic effects that we will hear throughout the album. They are not overwhelming or become the main focus of any tracks, they add just a little something extra to the songs, showing how the band has evolved their sound. 

What I enjoyed about this album was that while it had consistent elements with roaring guitars, pounding drums and strong bass, not every song had the exact same sound. Every song had something different about it that made it stand out and fit into the story of the album. “Flawless Execution” had Vic going starting out in  a deeper vocal range for a moment, then going back up to the normal higher range. Also in the middle of the song, the sound changes and has a shredding guitar solo. It goes from a huge rock sound to toned down with a slight back down on instrumental, then right into a fantastic shredding guitar moment. That changing of dynamics and sound carry throughout the end of the song before it slowly drifts off at the end. Then on “Shared Trauma” the album takes a laid back chill vibe. It has an island and hip hop like sound with some more electronic elements. 

“Damn The Man, Save The Empire” it has the more of the punk rock feel and has all the elements to create the heavier sound that many people like from Pierce The Veil. It has a strong guitar and drum build into the chorus, some screaming vocals from Vic. It used dynamics to create a story within the song. It goes back down and gets quiet and builds back up to build intensity. It is full of sound, repetitive chorus that would be easy to sing along and would be killer live. That is contrasted with “Even When I’m Not With You,” which is slowed down and more electronic. 

“So Far So Fake” is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The bass line is cool and groovy during the verses. The chorus has the more typical sound from their previous albums, but sounds fresh. The bridge has a groovy sound that just makes you want to bounce but the goes into a breakdown that will have you headbanging. It takes everything from the other tracks that you loved and put it on one track. Vic kills it on vocals, the repetitive guitar at the end that goes until it drifts off is the final touch to a fantastic track. 

Pierce The Veil returned to the music scene with a strong direction and proved they are not going anywhere. Jaws Of Life is a cohesive album sonically and lyrically with elements that connect, familiar riffs, drums, themes and more. The full sound, groovy bass lines, driving drums and soaring guitars work with vocals full of emotion and dynamics to create the atmosphere of the album. 

The interweaving of themes of love, fear, mental health, heartbreak are threaded beautifully through each track. It is easy to follow, written and sung beautifully, complemented by the instrumental and put together in a way that logically makes sense sonically and as a story. 

Jaws Of Life was released on February 10 and can be streamed on all major streaming platforms.

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