Scene legends Pierce the Veil have returned from a seven year gap of no music with their fifth studio record, ‘The Jaws of Life’. This record marks 17 years of Pierce the Veil being a band, and it definitely shows in the growth on this record in particular. They go for a more alternative 90’s style kind of sound, but mixed with their signature sound that fans love them for.
The record start with what might be the best song on it, with “Death of An Executioner”. This band knows how to start their records off right, this one is no exception. It’s catchy, memorable, strong lyrically, and has all the elements of PTV in a song. The synth in the background of the verses is a pretty nice touch for this band in 2023. Also, the guitar during the bridge feels mesmerizing to listen to. But the transition from there to the last chorus and outro feels so masterful, can’t appreciate this one enough. The album continues on with the first single, “Pass the Nirvana”. I wasn’t a fan of this song when it first came out initially, but it’s certainly grown on me since then. It’s a song that I’m sure has gone over well live in terms of hyping up their crowds. Easily the heaviest song on the album and that they’ve put out in general. The main riff truly sticks with you, especially during the last chorus which turns into absolute headbang central. We follow up with what might be my least favorite track on the record, with “Even When I’m Not with You”. It’s one more on the poppier side, and I think it’s one song that the production (which feels purposely toned down) doesn’t work in it’s favor. It also feels a bit repetitive in it’s structure and the instrumentals feel off throughout this one. I will commend the last line of this track being one of the best lyrics on the record, with “What is love besides two souls trying to heal each other?”.
We get to the second single from the record and enter a more comforting territory, with “Emergency Contact”. This honestly feels like the band we’ve loved over the years within the scene. It instrumentally feels very simplistic and 90’s in the instrumentals, but it works in the song’s favor. Vic Fuentes‘ melodies throughout this song feel so nostalgic and refreshing at the same time. The bridge and final chorus really tie this track together so nicely, like a rug tying the room together. We jump to “Flawless Execution”, where the guitar in the intro feels immediately soothing and indie-like. The chill verses and the banger chorus really contrast well together. I feel like this song in particular shows off how mature and progressed their sound has evolved over the years. I enjoyed the bridge changing things up, but effortlessly transitioning back into the last chorus. Also I appreciate them having a nice fading guitar, always a sucker for that.
Now we’re onto the title track of the record, which feels like another highlight as well. It opens with a killer riff, feeling super 90’s within the vibe of this whole song. I feel like this is another example of them shining lyrically, they’ve always been more on the sentimental side when it comes to that which I’ve always appreciated. I’ve said it more than once, but the bridge once again goes back into the chorus so beautifully. They feel like masters of their craft, which I wouldn’t doubt 17 years into being a band. We then continue with what feels like one of the best songs on this record as well, in “Damn the Man, Save the Empire”. This song in particular reminds me of their last record, ‘Misadventures’ in the best way possible. The cowbell in the second verse was a nice surprise too upon first listen, cowbell doesn’t get used enough I feel like. This continues the trend of well-written lyrics from this band, just hitting us with “Heaven is a place we can’t afford”. Tony Perry‘s guitar skills really shine throughout this one too. We go for a more laid back track with “Resilience”. I think the acoustic guitar just in the foreground of this song is such a nice touch for them. And the bridge feels ethereal in a way to listen to, trippy in the best possible fashion.
We’re on the last leg of the record, starting off with an interlude titled “Irrational Fears” leading into possibly the most out there track Pierce the Veil has offered, with “Shared Trauma”. While it’s one of my least favorite tracks off the album, I gotta give props to them for branching out and trying something new. The bridge does give me video game vibes though, which I was pretty enamored by. Also the interlude being an announcement on a plane feels right in line with leading into this kind of song. We get to the penultimate track and picking up the energy once more with “So Far So Fake”. This track might have the best pacing out of any song on this record, except for maybe the first track. It’s just a total banger and one that I’m sure will be in their set more often. It has such an awesome chorus, and the bridge feels so cool for them to show off their chops with. I mean there’s a super fun riff within the middle of the track, always nice to keep people on their toes inside the instrumentals. This song easily could’ve been a single, and would’ve preferred it to be. The record closes with another chill track, a bit of a ballad in “12 Fractures”. This might be the most 90’s feeling song on this record, as it reminds me of something more chill from someone like Stone Temple Pilots. We also get the one feature on this record from Chloe Moriondo, and she fits in so incredibly well to the track. She compliments Vic‘s vocals so well that it’s so beautiful to listen to. The track really gives me waiting room vibes, but in a good way.
Overall, ‘The Jaws of Life’ is certainly not the strongest album from Pierce the Veil. But that just goes to show how strong all their previous albums are, and this one is a really solid follow-up. And I thought they pulled off the different and experimental sounds on this record more often than not. I would say it’s lyrically on par with all their other material, which is a nice thing to realize that they’ve haven’t lost that songwriting capability over the years. And I applaud the cool stuff they do within the instrumentals all over this album, they’ve always stuck out so well in that department from a lot of other bands in the scene.
Check out the video for “Emergency Contact” below.