The notion of My Chemical Romance being viewed as an influential band rather than a band with cool spiked up pop punk songs with a darkened edge may terrify a lot of people, but Pierce the Veil have certainly made such a concept come to life, as Hell Above and A Match Into Water immediately brings up too prominent a reminiscence to more than half the material from Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge which isn't at all helped by the vocals of Vic Fuentes effectively emulating those of Gerard Way.
Still, the MCR comparisons aside, the band prove themselves to be continuously effective at creating songs with a post hardcore influence with massive dollops of melody and a massive spread of pop-based gleam. In the frantic rush of pinwheel riffing from Fuentes and Tony Perry's guitar work that lights up Bulls in the Bronx and The First Punch as well as the slicker swing of One Hundred Sleepless Nights and the Jimmy Eat World-esque power pop stomp of Hold On Til May, it's obvious that Pierce the Veil can become a band that will simply light up in the same way that Chiodos and Dance Gavin Dance lit up in the mid 2000's before those band's frontmen hit the hash. As well as this, the use of electronics is an undeniable force across the album, bringing extra layers of excitement into the likes of Stained Glass Eyes & Colorful Tears.
The band's desires to move onward into one of the bigger names in the new wave of post-hardcore bands is obviously aided with guest appearances from some of the bigger names in the business. The appearance of Jason Butler of letlive. (A band I have tried incredibly hard to get into and failed on every occasion) on Tangled in the Great Escape reveals to some degree the sense of dichotomy that exists within the world of the emo friendly post-hardcore revolution, as Fuentes and Butler effectively trade lines across the song, leaving listeners with the glossed up MCR-impression vocals of Fuentes beside the grittier more bluesy tones of Butler. It's quite a refreshing contrast and is certainly a more refreshing moment than the earlier appearance from Kellin Quinn of Sleeping With Sirens (Again, a band I've really wanted to dig but just can't) whose now famously near-androgynous vocal performance on King For a Day really just makes the song very difficult to settle into on the whole.
Just as a balance between worthy and unsettling appears on the front of guest vocalists, much of the electronic moments across Collide With the Sky serve as a real letdown along with the rest of the songs. I'm Low On Gas and You Need a Jacket finds itself packed with the kind of electronic backdrops that sound akin to a broken Windows 98 system, while much of the synthesizer backdrops really just come with the task of disguising a collection of dull breakdowns from falling completely flat.
On the whole Collide With the Sky proves itself to be an album worthy of praise in the ever expanding realms of pop based hardcore music that particularly with it's My Chemical Romance influence, shows a sense of musical evolution as bands that started in a previous generation begins to show signs of influence. However, it's not the best album that this "genre" in question has on offer, particularly when we can look to the more beefed up offerings from The Word Alive or Memphis May Fire for better examples of metal and poppy backdrops done well. Maybe it's the sense that they actually have gone too over the top, which probably shouldn't be the case for this style but, if they want to deliver something more solid, perhaps they should learn that less sometimes has the ability to be more.
Pierce the Veil's Collide With the Sky is out now via Fearless. The band will tour the UK in September with Crown the Empire.