Artist: Andy Black
Album: The Shadow Side
Oftentimes, we find that artists have much more in them than can be expressed with their bands. Some of these artists, ultimately, decide to depart from their band entirely to express what they could do with a solo career. However, in the case of Andy Biersack and his solo project Andy Black, it’s simply an outlet to explore experimenting with different influences that wouldn’t work with his band. If you aren’t a fan of his band, Black Veil Brides, don’t let that stop you from reading this review. Channeling his inner 80s goth-punk, The Shadow Side is a farcry from anything you’ll hear from him in BVB. Put together by Biersack, John Feldmann, The Madden Brothers, Gerard and Mikey Way and more… you can immediately tell that these songs are something that he was very passionate about.
I couldn’t think of a more fitting opener for this album than “Homecoming King.” Starting with a slow keyboard/synth fade-in before Biersack comes in low and slow, you’re immediately overcome with emotion. You thought that this track, given the title, would have a happy ending but you’re sorely mistaken. Much like every track Biersack has ever penned, be it solo or BVB, this track may have a dark theme but is meant to teach a lesson and give hope. The theme of this track is, even if you feel like you won’t amount to anything, you have to keep pushing on. The beauty of the homecoming queen will fade and, one day, high school will be over… leaving you to face the cold, hard truth: No one gives a shit about your status in the real world.
The album’s first single, “We Don’t Have to Dance” is a lot more upbeat and even has the possibility of being a club hit. The video focuses on Black, donning a James Dean-inspired leather jacket, slicked back hair, ripped jeans and truly channeling his love for the 80s. Black and white scenes see him disinterested in his surroundings, focusing only on a woman who he hopes to take home. He admits that he lives life recklessly and that, once their encounter is over, they don’t ever have to speak again. If ever there was a way for Black to channel his inner “bad boy”… “We Don’t Have to Dance” is just that.
One of my favorite tracks on the album is called “Put the Gun Down.” As you may have guessed, this is a track that is aimed towards anyone who has had thoughts of suicide. This is a track that seems incredibly personal to Black, as it has the most emotion I’ve heard on the album to this point. Here, we hear a monologue of Andy, at the end of his rope and wanting to end it all. It’s very likely that many listeners of this track have felt this way, at some point in time. I’ll be the first to tell you that I’ve been down that road… he’s urging you to reach out to help if you ever feel this way. Put the gun down, breathe and get the help you deserve. Things will get better!
“Stay Alive” which features Matt Skiba (Blink-182, Alkaline Trio) is another standout track. From the beginning, where you hear group-chanted “whoa oh’s” which soar and seem to fill you with hope, until the very last chord. This is a track that focuses on how your thoughts can become twisted and destroy you from the inside out. It has a similar theme as that of “Put the Gun Down” but in a much more upbeat, dance-like way. It’s also to be noted that, if ever there was a perfect vocal dynamic… it’d have to be that of Black/Skiba, as this track really wouldn’t be the same without them!
If you’re a fan of 80s goth (The Cure, Depeche Mode, etc) than this album will appeal most to you. However, the music on The Shadow Side is easily accessible to fans of any facet of rock music. It has some industrial tinges to it, there are hard rock moments, there’s even a couple of moments that feel slightly glam-rock. The bottom line is that Andy Black has created something special with The Shadow Side. He’s written his most personal, emotional record to date in these tracks and it’s safe to say that this album will remain high on a lot of end of the year lists. Don’t just take my word for it, take a step into The Shadow Side and pick up your copy on Republic Records today!
“We Don’t Have to Dance” (Official Music Video)
Andy Black 2016 North American Tour
5/23 — Baltimore, Md. @ Baltimore Soundstage
5/24 — Allston, Mass. @ Brighton Music Hall
5/25 — Philadelphia, Pa. @ Underground Arts
5/27 — New York, N.Y. @ Highline Ballroom
5/28 — Freehold, N.J. @ GameChanger World
5/29 — Norfolk, Va. @ The NorVA
5/31 — Greensboro, N.C. @ Arizona Pete’s
6/1 — Atlanta, Ga. @ The Masquerade
6/3 — St. Petersburg, Fla. @ State Theatre Saint Petersburg
6/4 — Orlando, Fla. @ The Social
6/6 — Dallas, Texas @ Trees Dallas
6/7 — San Antonio, Texas @ The Rock Box
6/8 — Houston, Texas @ Warehouse Live
6/10 — Omaha, Neb. @ Slowdown
6/11 — Minneapolis, Minn. @ Mill City Nights
6/13 — Cleveland, Ohio @ CLEVELAND AGORA
6/14 — Pittsburgh, Pa. @ ALTAR BAR
6/15 — Toronto, Ontario @ The Opera House
6/17 — Pontiac, Mich. @ The Crofoot
6/18 — Chicago, Ill. @ Bottom Lounge
6/19 — Lawrence, Kan. @ Liberty Hall
6/21 — Denver, Colo. @ The Bluebird Theater
6/22 — Salt Lake City, Utah @ The Complex
6/24 — Seattle, Wash. @ Showbox Presents
6/25 — Portland, Ore. @ Wonder Ballroom
6/27 — Orangevale, Calif. @ The Boardwalk
6/28 — San Francisco, Calif. @ Social Hall SF
6/30 — San Diego, Calif. @ The Observatory North Park
7/1 — Mesa, Ariz. @ The World Famous Nile Theater
7/2 — Los Angeles, Calif. @ El Rey