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Pierce The Veil
Selfish Machines
Equal Vision Records
www.piercetheveil.net


Equal Vision Records has championed hardcore since the late '90s and as the label enters 2011 it shows an unwavering will to keep hardcore thriving. The company's release of San Diego-based Pierce The Veil's new album Selfish Machines has meaty guitar flusters synonymous with As I Lay Dying and revving drum thrusts reflective of Mudvayne. The album has ramparts of classic hardcore with the screamo pitched vocals of frontman Vic Fuentes and the grinding shreds of guitarist Tony Perry, along with modern rock licks and the fierce rhythmic throbbing of bassist Jaime Preciado and drummer Mike Fuentes. Produced by Mike Green, Selfish Machines is supremely hardcore with inflections of classical piano and willowy acoustics.

Tracks like "Besitos" and "The New National Anthem" kick up a dark and brooding ethos as rapturous guitar licks entwine and bolt at a symphonic pitch. The sprinkling of dancing chimes showered lightly across "Besitos" give the song a wider dimension. These added accents broaden the texture of the melodies and it is something which Pierce The Veil do periodically throughout the album, like chiseling "Stay Away From My Friends" with elements of classical piano and gentle tambourine shimmies, and the delicate tides of "Million Dollar Houses (The Painter)". The underlying doowop groove of "Bulletproof Love" gives the song a dance vibe which contrasts the chomping vocals of "Caraphernelia", which is grazed by razor-sharp guitar shreds and haunting echoes in the underbelly of the chordal movements. The racing drum kicks along "Fast Times At Clairemont High" are bruising and coated in a maelstrom of searing guitar lesions as Vic Fuentes tells, "I've been saving myself for you, I've waited my whole life for you."

The lyrics have a dark romantic hue like in "Southern Constellations" with words that vow, "Before I get you home, you're nearly freeze / But I'll never let you freeze without me." Sometimes the lyrics profess a need to inflict more cynicism like in "Besitos" with words that resonate, "You know the only real way to cure pain is to add a little more." This theme continues in "Caraphernelia" as Vic Fuentes describes, "What's so good about picking up the pieces / None of the colors ever light up anymore in this hole." The lyrics bind the songs in dark feelings and the music emphasizes its bite.

Pierce The Veil keep in the vane of what audiences expect from hardcore bands and add in other textures very lightly like the brushed guitar strokes of "Stay Away From My Friends" and the doowop-tinged swells of "Bulletproof Love." The band adds something of their own to hardcore's palette which will affect burgeoning generations of hardcore audiences.

-Susan Frances

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