BLACK VEIL BRIDES
"Get ready to experience Black Veil Brides like you've never seen them before."... so states the press release. Well, in the sense that this is "their first ever recorded live performance", then it can be taken literally that no-one would've experienced Black Veil Brides like this. The question is, would you want to experience Black Veil Brides at all, in any medium, let alone on a live stage? Personally, I wouldn't, and my minimal exposure to the band thus far has not been a favourable experience. Fair enough, they're competent enough musicians within the limited parameters of their generic rock/metal compositions, but their music lacks any real sense of sonic swagger or emotional depth. For me, I've only ever heard mindlessly regurgitated clichés from the American band whose burgeoning success seems to be merely a corollary of their carefully chosen image... yep, it seems an anachronistic, glammed-up appearance still sells records in the twenty first century. And the overwhelming demographic of their fanbase becomes all too evident with the crowd footage interwoven into the edit of this show - teenage girls. Hordes of 'em! So much so, that it looks like an exclusively female audience. In fact, you only have to listen to the crowd noise for a realisation of this, with a plethora of high-pitched screams that sound exactly like you'd expect to hear at a One Direction show.
On the plus side, 'Alive and Burning' is well filmed and the three audio options (Dolby Digital Stereo; Dolby Digital 5.1; DTS Surround Sound), offer decent sound for the show. And the image-driven musicians do, at least, turn in a decent performance in front of their hometown Hollywood audience. As zapped of emotion and hideously clichéd as the music is, at least it has an inherent energy that, based on this DVD, seems to translate well in a live context. The weakest link is, perhaps, frontman Andy Biersack, whose vocals are pretty shabby throughout; meandering through consonance and dissonance as he tonally struggles to hit all the right notes (... he does hit some of the right notes, although it seems very arbitrary). His singing on a heavied-up cover of Billy Idol's 'Rebel Yell' is a genuine low-point, and one that had me seriously cringing. Utterly terrible.
The sole bonus feature on the disc is a seven and a half minute 'Meet the Fans' featurette which, basically, consists of footage from an in-store signing in Las Vegas... cue a long line of over-excited teenage girls who, obviously, know no better... well, it's just a hormone-phase, really, isn't it. They'll enter adulthood, most will deny ever liking Black Veil Brides in the first place, and the band's audience will diminish as a result of younger, more glammed-up bands coming to prominence, who will offer more visual appeal than they do.
As excruciating as it's been to endure 'Alive and Burning' for reviewing purposes, I do acknowledge that the band's young fanbase will undoubtedly adore this release, probably drooling over each and every frame of the show, daily, for the next twelve months. To be honest, I feel no animosity towards bands of this ilk; I guess it's a rite of passage for teenagers (primarily girls in this case) to feed their hormones with this kind of pap before they discover music that'll have far more longevity in their lives. I mean, we've all been there, right? After experiencing 'Alive and Burning', I can reassure myself that Black Veil Brides still aren't for me, and I'll award it a generous five out of ten, bang-on average rating, for some competent musicianship on display (save for Biersack).
Eagle Rock Entertainment
ALIVE AND BURNING
Review by Mark Holmes
25th Sept 2015
1) Heart of Fire; 2) I Am Bulletproof; 3) Coffin; 4) Faithless; 5) Wretched and Divine; 6) Knives & Pens; 7) Overture; 8) Shadows Die; 9) Last Rites; 10) Rebel Love Song; 11) Drum Solo; 12) The Legacy; 13) Sweet Blasphemy; 14) Perfect Weapon; 15) Fallen Angels; 16) Rebel Yell; 17) In the End
Bonus Material: Meet the Fans
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...it's a rite of passage for teenagers (primarily girls in this case) to feed their hormones with this kind of pap before they discover music that'll have far more longevity in their lives."