EP review: Black Veil Brides – Bleeders

Theatrical rock rebels Black Veil Brides make a stormy, bloodthirsty return via three-song EP Bleeders…

EP review: Black Veil Brides – Bleeders
Steve Beebee

Comprising just three tracks, Bleeders is Black Veil Brides’ first music for new label Spinefarm, though in terms of hinting at new directions, it offers few clues. The band have long since grown from their glammed-up, nu-goth roots, expanding to incorporate metalcore, symphonic and even electronic influences, frequently sewn together to create expansive albums like 2021’s The Phantom Tomorrow. This was an ambitious rock opera concept project, and not the first time Black Veil Brides had extended themselves in this manner.

Bleeders maintains the drama, though it’s more of a musical slap in the face, a less cerebral cold shower, than before. The title-track boasts a splendidly gory video clearly inspired by the tale of murderous barber Sweeney Todd – the story revived by Johnny Depp’s performance in the 2007 movie version of the Stephen Sondheim musical. Bleeders chucks in fat riffs, breakdowns and a lusty scythe of a hook, classic Brides gifted to you with the type of dark-clad nihilism we’ve missed from them recently. Also included is a cover of My Friends from the aforementioned musical, Andy Biersack ably recapturing the original’s creepy cinematic darkness.

Frothy, cheesy, gothy fun it may be – but such context makes their admittedly decent cover of U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday seem uncomfortably out of place. Aside from frequent use of the word ‘bloody’, U2’s iconic anthem about sectarian violence in Northern Ireland is as far removed from seedy tales of demon barbers as can be imagined. The decision to present this song sandwiched between tracks inspired by or lifted from a relatively trivial slasher is at best worthy of further explanation, and at worst jaw-droppingly inappropriate.

This is however just the first move in what should be a productive new era for the band – and if that bloodletting title-track is anything to go by, existing fans will have much to sink their fangs into.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: Ghost, Avenged Sevenfold, HIM

Bleeders is released on June 21 via Spinefarm

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