Album Review – Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones by Black Veil Brides

Album Review – Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones by Black Veil Brides

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Black Veil Brides are back with their third studio album: Wretched and Divine:The Story of The Wild Ones.

With glam rock overtones, and makeup to make KISS jealous, Black Veil Brides split opinions. They are indeed loved and loathed in equal measure. Their previous releases gave us radio savvy pop-rock tracks. Maybe for the older rockers, we’ve heard it all before. However BVB have attracted an avid fan base and clearly put the creative hours in to deliver a polished and hugely professional output – be it live or on record.

And so to their third album, with a slightly delayed release BVB have gone all ‘concept’. We are presented with a full-on rock opera: ‘Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones’. Third album in – that’s brave for a young and upcoming band.

Cover artwork features beautiful illustrations by Richard Villa – once we would have to time to admire it as we brought it in its full gatefold vinyl glory. Nowadays we’ll glance it on the iTunes screen as we press the button to play.

19 tracks and an hour long: on first listen it’s pretty harmless and likeable though initially there appears to be no standout track. Listening passes quickly  – starting off with one of several spoken interludes (aka the evil ‘F.E.A.R’). ‘Exordium’ – “The Kingdom of God is inside you, and all around you. Not in a mansion of wood and stone. Split a piece of wood and God is there. Lift a stone and you will find God. ” …. erm…okay.

The ‘concept’ behind epic pitches the band and their army of fans against the forces of ‘F.E.A.R’  – priest-like figures – who seek to destroy free will and thought. Think dark and gothic and Orwellian and you’ll be on the money. Apparently there’s a full length companion film ‘Legion of the Black’ – though I haven’t had an opportunity to review this alongside the album, apparently it’s a dark fantasy tale, and visually tells the tale of the album. The band claimed that this album would be more punk rock that their previous outings “Social Distortion meets Metallica”. Hmmm… not sure about that statement.

Not sure I’ve quite brought into this gothic fantasy world yet (I have been listening whilst working) but it’s clear this is an ambitious project for an ambitious young band.  Biersack’s vocals are pretty robust, probably at his best so far. Overall it is traditional heavy metal, with full rock riffs and guitar solos, smattered with the Orwellian F.E.A.R interludes (spoken by Wil Francis (of Aiden and William Control)).

After a few listens the anthemic ‘New Years Day’ becomes a grower, ‘We Don’t Belong Here’ will undoubtedly go down well live as will ‘In The End’ – the first single – which is already getting huge airplay -  it’s had nearly six million views on YouTube. There are multiple tracks here that will get airplay from the rock stations. So in that respect it may well be a sleeper as song after song is released and invariably will make the rock charts.

BVB take all the elements of the over the top gothic glam rock from the 70s and 80s and redeliver it in this new decade. One thing that you would not say about Black Veil Brides is that they are original. They are the bastard offspring of KISS and Motley Crüe, that is clear, and they have taken every single element and brought it to 2013; with vibes of Ozzy and Cooper, modernised to challenge My Chemical Romance and Thirty Seconds to Mars. It is very probably over blown and glorious in its own BVB way. And for all its dark overtures there’s something cheeky and fun, and tongue in check about the whole thing. BVBs do what BVBs do and they do it incredibly well.  They know their audience; they know exactly who they’re playing for. Not a bad thing – is this album is likely to expand their fanbase? I guess all that radio airtime will tell.

For me, I’m still trying to be drawn into the BVB’s conceptualized world on this album to fight the ‘F.E.A.R’. Though, the album is a bit of a grower. Their adorning fans will, of course, already have melted into it’s full, over the top, glory.

And if you want to catch Black Veil Brides in action – they’re on their ‘Church of the Wild Ones’ world tour – they’ll be headlining the Kerrang! tour throughout the UK and at 02 Academy in Birmingham on 14th February 2013.

Review by Zyllah Moranne-Brown

 

 

 

 

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