On the surface, Black Veil Brides plays retro glam metal with an epic emo streak to it. The California band has a distinctive look — face paint, tattoos, tight leather outfits with metallic studs. One senses that Mad Max, Marilyn Manson and Kiss are major style inspirations.
The band just released its new record, “Vale,” after an extended touring absence. It’s filled with a kind of solemn bombast, but also with plenty of earnest sentiment. The single “Wake Up” is a bit grandiose, with a video that presents the band’s singer Andy Biersack as a sort of prophet who’s also a persecuted enemy of the state. One gets whiffs of “1984,” with themes of thought control and corrosive media manipulation. Biersack has been outspoken about his mental health issues as a child, about isolation, medication and how his intelligence, focus and will have allowed him to be creative and driven.
Biersack’s voice isn’t standard metal material. He doesn’t generally go for growls or operatic extremes. He has more of a gruff croon. Though the band insists it doesn’t make political music, the song “Dead Man Walking” was written in response to the election of Donald Trump. (“I feel alone living in a nightmare.”)
The band’s followers are seriously committed, and one can watch videos of fans losing it in fits of tears and jitters at meet-and-greet events at Hot Topic. Biersack, who also acts and performs under a variety of stage names, has movie-star qualities.
Black Veil Brides performs with frequent touring partners Asking Alexandria at The Dome @ Toyota Presents Oakdale Theater, 95 S. Turnpike Road, Wallingford, on Wednesday, May 2, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $29.50. 203-265-1501, livenation.com