Sound — 8
Black Veil Brides are still a fairly new act, having signed their first contract under the name Black Veil Brides in 2009, though they have existed in some form or another since 2006. They came straight out of the gate just straight up taking aesthetic aspects of KISS's and Motley Crue's stage personas while still in the process of hammering out their own individual sound. They have remained extremely active since that time, with this being the third full length studio album they have released since that time. Their only remaining founding member is vocalist and keyboardist, Andy Biersack. Their lineup has remained stable since late 2010, however. You can definitely tell that Black Veil Brides step out of their comfort zone at places in this album, and this is where the album shines. There will be fans that will probably be put off with the more orchestrated and ambient elements of the album, but there is still a fair share of hard rock riffing going on. Honestly, their stage personas have been hard for me to overcome in order to enjoy their music, but this album shows at least the effort on their part to say something worth hearing. I hope moving forward that they continue to stretch their boundaries musically. While they initially came off as a very commercial group to me, I have to remember that really a lot of bands like The Who and The Beatles, started out as straight up pop bands.
To actually talk about the sound of the album, the composition works quite well and the "F.E.A.R. Transmission" spoken tracks really help create the proper mood to enjoy the album. The orchestration that is used is tastefully done, and the guitar playing is tight throughout the album. The drums do a really great job of holding the tracks together. The album is mixed very well overall with a full stereo mixed sound to it. While the album as a whole is definitely a concept album, the majority of the songs still seem they can stand on their own merits separately from the album. Black Veil Brides needed something to separate them from the myriad hard rock acts out there, and this album helps them in that respect much more than their costumes, hairspray and makeup.
Lyrics — 7
Andy Biersack has a really solid rock voice which fits their genre really well, and Jinxx and Ashley provide solid backup vocals. While Andy's voice isn't super distinctive it is however a workhorse of a voice, providing the range needed and performing solidly on tours and doing extremely well for them on "Wretched And Divine". There is very little vocal processing used, outside of slight reverb or delay, but where it is used it is used to great effect. The lyrical themes seem to go into spirituality, the failure of society and then the general feeling of alienation experienced by people as they grow up.
As an example of the lyrics, here are some of the lyrics from "I Am Bulletproof": "Here we go/ Holding on to lies/ holding on to tides that vanish/ Cut the rope, and fall into the sky/ The Devil fills our minds with sadness/ The world's all gone, and I've been naming all my life/ Got some thing to live for, I know that I won't / Surrender/ A warrior of youth/ I'm taking over, a shock to the new world order/ I am bulletproof (x4)/ Here I go/ Another/ Another perfect sky I damage/ Now I know, just who created life/ And why I set my sigt to save it/ The world's all gone, and I've been naming all my life/ Got some thing to live for, I know that I won't surrender/ A warrior of youth/ I'm taking over, a shock to the new world order/ I am bulletproof/ And they say take this final breath, I ask him the truth/ I'm taking over, a shock to the new world order/ I am bulletproof".
Overall Impression — 7
Just to be completely honest, I have not historically had a good attitude about Black Veil Brides and other bands that use a lot of pageantry in their performances, but as I've watched it seems as if Black Veil Brides has really grown into something more interesting than their stage personas. This album, "Wretched And Divine: The Story Of The Wild Ones" comes off as an epic concept album in the vein of "Tommy" or "Operation: Mindcrime". I'm not saying that every moment of the album was a raging success, but there was more success than failure when you listen to the album. I will continue to follow Black Veil Brides to see what they come out with next, and I definitely am intrigued by the direction they are going now. While early in the tracking of the albums they insinuated their release would be a mixture of punk rock and metal, their actual release is much more interesting than I anticipated. There are 19 tracks on the album, however 5 of these tracks are spoken word. The total runtime of the album is right around 52 minutes. There is supposedly a full-length film in process as a companion to the album which will be called "Legion Of The Black", but which is not included with the album. So far it was screened a few dates in late December but should be seeing a DVD release in the near future as well as possibly being a pay per view event.