The Soundtrack To The Many Rebellions That 2013 Will Bring
Release Date: January 13, 2013
Label: Lava/Universal Republic
Rocks Like: Avenged Sevenfold, Kiss, Motley Crue
Recommended Track: We Don’t Belong
Black Veil Brides just dropped not only their longest album to date, but also their most conceptually complex. Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones is bursting with anthems, spoken word interludes, and power ballads, combining to create the narrative of this Orwellian concept album.
“Focusing on themes of religion, God, and totalitarianism this album is quite intellectually ambitious – proving that yes, beyond the face paint, guy-liner, and tight leather pants these guys like a little conversation too.”
Wretched and Divine is Black Veil Brides’ third studio album and first release since 2011. Pre-sales started on October 31st, a fitting date considering not only the bands motif but also the album title and thematic elements. Releasing a full-length film, The Legion of the Black (a visualization of the album), just over two weeks before the album release date had fans crawling out of their skin for the upcoming epic of Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones.
Andy Biersack’s vocals are melodic and refined, bursting into the scene on “I Am Bulletproof”, the second track of the album; a riffy power-track with a chorus you’ll be singing for weeks. Jake Pitts and Jinxx provide excellent riffs throughout the album that hold true to their 80‘s hair metal heritage, even with the much more goth/punk-rock feel that they seem to have taken with this release.
The album is evenly paced from track to track making smooth transitions (assisted by strings) and creating a sense of rhythmic symmetry thanks to Ashley Purdy and Christian “CC” Coma, who provided a steady hammering bass line and a barrage of rumbling and blasting beats on the drums, respectively.
Interludes featuring Nineteen Eighty-Four-esque spoken word by Wil Francis (Aiden and William Control), are scattered amongst the tracks. The intro track, “Exordium”, is a welcome homage to theatrical concept albums, bringing us into the dystopian future that is set before us and setting the mood for the album. Two tracks later we find ourselves at another interlude, “F.E.A.R. Transmission 1: Stay Close”, then two tracks from then we find ourselves at…yet another interlude. I’m starting to see a pattern here.
With a constant upbeat tempo, only interrupted by the overabundance of interludes, the album feels like a rah-rah-rebellion good time packed with more “whoas” then we could count. Raw emotion returns to the album with the change of pacing from anthems to power-ballads in “Lost It All” (featuring Biersack’s girlfriend and musical powerhouse, Juliet Simms, on back up vocals) and “Done for You”.
Unfortunately the actual storyline becomes convoluted and drowns in the sheer volume of catchy anthems and the redundant spoken word interludes. A simple solution would have been a single powerful spoken word track to introduce or act as an intermission in the album and, as past concept albums have demonstrated, play out both the antagonist and protagonist relying on the music for the narrative – creating more content and subject matter for the songs (as much as I love me some “whoas”, a few more lyrics wouldn’t have hurt, and 19 tracks IS a little excessive). The concept of a guest vocalist representing the antagonist, creating an audible contrast, in theory is a fantastic idea and should definitely be revisited at a later date or album.
One of the albums high points is the utilization of Bert McCracken’s disturbingly raw vocals on the track “Days are Numbered”, which he has also lent to many other albums playing the role as a guest vocalist (seriously, how many albums by other bands has he been on? Quick, someone Google it…).
Annnnnyyyywayyyys, Forming in 2006 Black Veil Brides are coming upon their 7th year as a band, and taking a swing at a concept album is quite the ambitious move for such a young group. The album as a whole in theory is a brave and theatrical. The attempted execution of a split narrative using a guest vocalist as the antagonist is a ballsy move and a creatively genius idea, but the overload of interludes lost the overall ominous effect and failed to provide a worthy contrast to define the villainous protagonist as a character unto himself.
Despite its narrative shortcomings, the “whoa” packed anthems of Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones are sure to be the soundtrack to the many rebellions that 2013 will bring.
2. I Am Bulletproof
3. New Years Day
4. F.E.A.R. Transmission 1: Stay Close
5. Wretched And Divine
6. We Don’t Belong
7. F.E.A.R. Transmission 2: Trust
8. Devil’s Choir
9. Resurrect The Sun
11. Shadows Die
13. Days Are Numbered
14. Done For You
15. Nobody’s Hero
16. Lost It All
17. F.E.A.R. Transmission 3: As War Fades
18. In The End
19. F.E.A.R.: Final Transmission