Black Veil Brides are the latest in a long line of bands that people love to hate, they generally tend to receive hatred from people based on their appearance rather than their music, in much the same way as Motionless In White . Nonetheless, the band has amassed a cult following of fans who call themselves the BVB ARMY. With their 2011 album “Set the World On Fire” Black Veil Brides took a leap towards the potential they had been bleating on about from the beginning.
It seems like being one of the most hated bands in the world isn’t enough though, as Black Veil Brides have decided to do something that will further divide opinion on them… release a concept album. Concept albums are a tricky business for even the most seasoned bands, I can write on the back of a postage stamp how many good concept albums there are in the world. Most of them are by Dream Theater or Rush, and as we know Black Veil Brides are neither of those bands. The main problem with concept albums is getting the balance between writing great songs and telling a great story, and very few albums achieve that without sacrificing one or the other. However, such a daunting task doesn’t seem to phase Black Veil Brides, who have jumped in head first with this for album number three.
“Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones” is the story of a future wasteland where an oppressive religious minded group called F.E.A.R is looking to gain control over the population, and opposing them is a group of rebels known as The Wild Ones. A rag tag bunch of misfits who are trying to retain control of their lives at any cost. Yes, the story sounds familiar and there are parallels to things like Mad Max, as well as ‘Danger Days; The True Story Of The Fabulous Killjoys’ by My Chemical Romance. Now, before the BVB ARMY gets up in arms and I ignite some online war between both bands’ fans I am in no way insinuating that a) either band sounds like the other or that b) Black Veil Brides are ripping them off. I’m just stating there are similarities in the narratives, so please calm down and back away from the Internet.
With that said, “Wretched and Divine” is a big leap forward both creatively and musically for Black Veil Brides, that demonstrates they are willing to think outside the box as well as deciding to put more emphasis on songwriting this time out. This effort was achieved by creating massive choruses that could take down empires, and showing improved musicianship bringing in solo’s and twin harmonies in the guitar department reminiscent of early Iron Maiden, Killswitch Engage, Trivium and Avenged Sevenfold. Speaking of which, there is a very big Avenged Sevenfold vibe over this record, with several of the tracks, ‘Shadows Die’, ‘Nobody’s Hero’ and ‘Wretched and Divine’ especially sounding like they could have come from Avenged Sevenfold‘s back catalogue.
‘Resurrect the Sun’, ‘The Devil’s Choir’ and ‘Days are Numbered’ (featuring Bert McCracken) will go down as some of the best song’s in the bands history, whilst ‘Lost it All’ (featuring Juliet Simms from Automatic Loveletter) shows the band can pen a ballad if they need to, and it’s a nice moment to catch your breath.
You can tell this is a Black Veil Brides record mainly from the vocals and the lyrics, courtesy of band front man and their biggest lightning rod Andy Beirsack (no longer using the Andy Sixx moniker). Beirsack fills his lyrics with hope and reckless abandon, darkness and light; his lyrics are what really infuses the album with its sense of narrative and drive the story forward giving places for the listener to latch on.
There are flaws to be found within “Wretched and Divine” and that is mainly the F.E.A.R transmissions and the two musical interludes. Whilst they provide narrative and structure to the story they also slow the pace down and break up the consistency of the record. There is the odd pacing of the lead single ‘In The End’ which finds itself at the end of the album when it should really be closer to the top as it’s one of the main selling points for new fans to get involved with the band and this album.
Minor gripes aside, “Wretched and Divine: The Story of The Wild Ones” is 2013’s first big album in a year that promises to be full of major releases. It shows that Black Veil Brides are more than just make up and cheap riffs, with this, their third album, they have proved that they can hang with the big boys and pen an album that not only delivers an interesting, well told story, but also some good catchy rock tunes to accompany that story. 2013 will end up being the year the band goes supernova. If you are already a fan of the band, then you will love this, if you are in the hater camp, then at least give it a listen, you never know, it might surprise you.