Overall Score: 7/10 Surprise Factor: 7/10 Memorable Tracks: 6/10 Guitar Work: 7/10 Pros: Enormous improvement over previous works | In The End Cons: Will still be hated by many without even being listened to
Artist: Black Veil Brides
Album: Wretched & Divine: The Story Of The Wild Ones
Record Label: Island Records
Release Date: 8th January 2013
For Fans Of: Asking Alexandria, Bullet For My Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold, US Commercial Metal
Up until this point, I’ve never really had any time for Black Veil Brides. Whilst I’ve appreciated their appeal to the younger generation of rock & metal fans as an “entry” band, I’ve often thought their music of poor quality with little redeeming about it and their image equally unfavourable, playing up various goth / metal stereotypes in an over the top fashion of varying degrees. It is with a skeptical ear I took to listening to Wretched & Divine, the bands third full length offering, which was released a few weeks ago through Lava Records.
Wretched & Divine is something of a concept album, and the little “interludes” designed to further the “story” are in my book unneccessary and do not contribute very much. But, that aside, this album is, to my surprise, very enjoyable in places. Of the highlights, proper opener I Am Bulletproof is more of a toe tapper than a headbanger to begin with but is a grower and also contains a very effective chorus before cutting lose in the second half of the song. The album’s title track flows well and has a nice solo in it, but the undoubted highlight is the album’s first single In The End, which in the vein of all excellent songs worms its way into the listeners head and refuses to leave, with its seismic chorus and huge hooks throughout.
John Feldmann (the singer of Goldfinger who as a producer has worked with everyone from The Used to Lostprophets to Hilary Duff) has worked wonders here, enhancing Black Veil Brides’ sound and seemingly also making them a much more focused unit, helping them to produce an album that may well help them shake some of the more derogatory labels regularly thrown at the band. He’s also helped to get the best out of Andy Biersack’s voice, and it’d be interesting to see if he can keep up this level of improvement in a live setting.
Wretched & Divine is certainly not going to take a place on the shelf of a hardcore Slayer fan, but it is a fine slice of pop metal for those that way inclined. Regardless of the opinions of people such as myself, BVB seem destined for large amounts of success but there is more than enough about this album to make doubters give Black Veil Brides a second look. It’s also a timely reminder to try not to judge the proverbial book by the cover. Give it a chance, you might be surprised.