Black Veil Brides
Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones
07 January 2013
by Gavin Lloyd
Black Veil Brides are a band everyone has an opinion on, and those with an opinion are rarely shy about voicing it. While there are those that vehemently despise the makeup clad mob, they also have a fiercely passionate army of followers. They have been rapidly growing in popularity for a few years now and new album Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones sees the band clearly set on making that leap to mainstream success and subsequent world domination.
Wretched and Divine is clearly an album with a fair bit of ambition behind it – a rock opera concept album that comes packaged full of talk of rebellion. It weighs in at 19 tracks and clocks at just under an hour in length, but a large part of this are piano, violin and spoken word interludes that will have you repeatedly checking you haven’t accidentally started listening to a Paul McKenna motivational audio book. When they get to the business of actually playing songs though, they unveil some of their strongest moments to date. The likes of lead single ‘In The End’, and ‘New Year’s Day’, have some unquestionably catchy choruses, and ‘Lost It All’ may be bristling with cheese but it’s a power ballad that would get a cheeky wink and pat on the back from Jon Bon Jovi himself.
Black Veil Brides’ brand has been marketed extremely well, positioning the band as the latest harbour for that oh-so-common phenomenon of the isolated teen. Much like Nirvana and Korn before them, BVB have tapped into teen growing pains, and this album only strengthens that bond. Andy Biersack regularly sings of being the outsider, and in turn becomes the accessible face of the hardships of puberty. With song such as ‘We Don’t Belong’, the band are far from subtle, but in a world filled with rock clubs where you can be made to feel abnormal for not looking a tattooed Geordie Shore participant, it’s nice to see a band embrace being “the outsider”.
However, it is in this point that the flaws with Black Veil Brides start to become apparent. For an album that is meant to be an alternative to the acceptable it’s awfully tame. There is very little edge or feel of danger that the aforementioned bands came loaded with. Hell, even those previous emo whipping-boys, My Chemical Romance, were delivering tales of murder, revenge and piano ballads about terminal illness. There is nothing remotely risky about BVB’s latest, and playing it so safe results in quite the dull listen, coming across as a parent-approved, drug-free, virgin Mötley Crüe experience.
Watch the video to ‘In The End’ by Black Veil Brides:
For a band that provoke such extreme reactions from music fans, this album remains disappointingly middle of the road. The concept feels forced with those annoying spoken words sections seemingly being stuffed in for the sake of it along with an awful lot of filler, and even Biersack’s sympathy for the downtrodden seem insincere and generic. It’s a shame because at times BVB come close to genuinely giving their haters a run for their money, but ultimately fall quite short of the mark. Wretched and Divine is ultimately a transparent and mediocre listen. Their current success might not be something to be sniffed at, but on the back of such a a transparent and mediocre listen as Wretch and Divine it’s hard to imagine the band’s fate when their fanbase grows up, gets drunk, gets laid and realise life’s not that bad after all.
Sounds Like: Less Fun Motley Crue, Watered Down Avenged Sevenfold
Standout Tracks: New Year’s Day, We Don’t Belong, In The End