by Corey AparThe heart of San Diego emo-inflected post-hardcore outfit Pierce the Veil lies in two brothers, vocalist/guitarist Victor Fuentes and drummer Mike Fuentes, who first started playing together as the band Before Today while students in high school. The two formed the group in December of 1998 and it was soon turned into a quintet by guitarist Joe Tancil and bassist Mitchell Ballatore. Before Today played as a unit for several years, and after signing to Equal Vision Records, released the album A Celebration of an Ending in September 2004. In time, Tancil and Ballatore quit the band, leaving Victor and Mike to start over and rebuild. In the fall of 2006, they switched their name to Pierce the Veil, which was the name of a track on the previous Before Today album, and brought on board bassist Jaime Preciado and guitarist Tony Perry. The brothers wrote Pierce the Veil's debut album, A Flair for the Dramatic, in their San Diego home studio, and later recorded it up in Seattle with producer Casey Bates (Gatsbys American Dream, Fear Before the March of Flames). Their original affiliation with Equal Vision continued, and in early summer 2007, A Flair for the Dramatic appeared via the Albany-based label. The fall was then spent on opening dates for rockers From First to Last.