Misadventures is the first Pierce The Veil album that really has something riding on it. After 2012’s Collide With The Sky turned out better than really anyone expected, the San Diegan quartet’s rise was stratospheric, leapfrogging the vast majority of their peers and seeing Vic Fuentes becoming president elect of the Warped Tour scene. It’s led to the excitement for their much-delayed fourth album Misadventures reaching almost excruciating levels for their ever-expanding fanbase, but it’s not been for nothing. With a recording process frequently brought to a halt thanks to everything from extensive touring schedules to bouts of inter-band depression, it seemed as though the album was due to slink further and further into myth. But with Misadventures finally dropping, has the wait been worth it?
Yes, in a way. Because while it can’t quite reach the heady heights of Collide With The Sky, Misadventures shows that, even after their extended period of time away, Pierce The Veil still have that spark and knack for polished, relatively interesting post-hardcore. And while its mistakes are easy to spot, they’re not album-breaking in magnitude. The most obvious one is probably the familiarity at all – while it’s subjective whether this is a negative at all, most of Misadventures seems to be treading the same ground as four years ago. And while to an extent this may come with the territory for a band like Pierce The Veil – a good percentage of the Warped Tour scene seems to be built around rehashing ideas, after all – it makes for an experience that’s less compelling overall. And alongside a couple of dud tracks – Texas Is Forever still fails to ignite even in the context of the album, and Sambuka feels like more bluster than song – it means that Misadventures is a couple of rungs below its predecessor.
Even so, Misadventures still remains an impressive effort thanks to its abundance of strong songs. Floral & Faded is a lot more understated than a lot of what Pierce The Veil have done in the past but really benefits from its great shuffling groove and lack of polish, and Circles takes a much poppier standpoint in its massive, infectious hooks. Elsewhere, The Divine Zero uses its nuance to its advantage for some real power and force, and Bedless‘ staccato, ever-so-saccharine guitars and synthetic twinkles are simple but tremendously effective. There’s hardly any new ground broken on Misadventures, but the degree in which it shows that Pierce The Veil have sharpened their abilities can’t be ignored.
And where Pierce The Veil set themselves apart from the competition is in their use of diversity and technicality, something which is probably this album’s strongest suit. The lack of true gut-busting choruses is made up for with a wide pool of instrumental and stylistic skill, with the band frequently bedazzling their sound with dramatic and progressive touches. It keeps things interesting for the vast majority of the time, like on Today I Saw The Whole World with its darker, technical opening and glitchier chorus, or on highlight Gold Medal Ribbon, which kicks off with a windswept, ’80s-style power ballad solo before stepping into a warmer mid-pace with added depth from synths and percussive touches. And while their relatively ambitious visions don’t always pan out – Phantom Power And Ludicrous Speed sometimes feels as though it flip-flops between approaches a bit too frequently – it still sets them a fair distance apart from the more straight-laced bands of their scene.
While Misadventures is undoubtedly solid, it can be argued that, over the four years it actually took for this album to see the light of day, the lack of progression or anything that really sets it apart from the rest of Pierce The Veil’s back catalogue is a bit of a disappointment. And while that is indeed a valid argument, it’s worth looking at the bigger picture in that, even with largely sticking to what they know, Pierce The Veil’s instrumental substance and tact sets them apart from the crowd. And though Misadventures isn’t the highest of their high points, it continues to do that. It’s more of the same, definitely, but it’s an impressive album nonetheless, and should be enough to see their scene figurehead status remain intact.
For fans of: Chiodos, Dance Gavin Dance, D.R.U.G.S
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Misadventures’ by Pierce The Veil is out now on Fearless Records.