Label: Lava/Universal Republic
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Reviewed by: ToddStar
Just when you think a band may have peaked, they drop a new disc that totally raises the bar. For those of you that thought ‘Set The World On Fire’ was great, hold on to your seats. The disc opens with a spoken piece, “Exordium,” that starts to set the story in motion. “I Am Bulletproof” kicks in and rocks. The guitar riffs, the pounding drums, and Andy’s gutteral rock and roll voice are all part of the winning formula that help this song take the bands sound to the next level. “New Year’s Day” is more of the same, in that the song builds on what fans of the band have come to know and love. The music is BVB as you know them, but more mature and better at their trade. Another spoken word piece and then the title track, “Wretched and Divine,” comes roaring in. The guitar work here is killer. It never ceases to amaze me how well Jake Pitts and Jinxx work together and play off each other. Andy’s vocals here are also a great compliment to the music. The real gem hidden in this track is the killer time keeping from Christian “CC” Coma. Next up is the moody rocker “We Don’t Belong.” The musical intro feels almost industrial, but you soon realize the huge chorus and killer riffs are all rock and all BVB. This song is just dying to be played live – I can see the fist pumping the air and heads nodding in unison. This is great f*cking Rock N Roll – I don’t care what genre you prefer, this is good stuff.
“Devil’s Choir” has more of the guitar lines that fans of older BVB tracks will find familiar, but the song itself is leagues ahead of most of their previous efforts. Andy Biersack has finally become more comfortable with his voice and vocal ability. Forget what you know – this guy can sing. “Resurrect the Sun” again has an industrial feel when the song starts up, but that quickly disappears when the band kicks in and cranks this up. This is about as close as we have gotten to a ballad or mellow track yet. It’s a nice way to transition between the first and second half of the disc. “Overture” is exactly what you might expect, a beautiful orchestral piece that adds depth to what this band has done thus far. “Shadows Die” adds to that, when it plays in nicely until the rhythm section, led by Ashley Purdy and CC, kicks in and cranks this track to the next level. It is amazing – with each track, this disc gets better. The Used’s Bert McCracken lends vocal talents on the track, “Days Are Numbered,” which is after another spoken interlude. This track has a killer rhythm line that gets the foot tapping, head bobbing, and keeps the energy up.
“Done for You” is another great track that is not what you might expect from this band; a beautiful piano piece with Andy’s vocals over top. Slowly the rest of the band joins in and this mellow track becomes larger than life, without getting loud or aggressive. “Nobody’s Hero” picks the rock back up with one of the coolest guitar solo/riffs on the disc. The familiar rhythm the band is known for kicks in and one is reminded what they love about the band to begin with. These guys know how to write songs with choruses that seem to be a battle cry and screaming to be chanted by arenas and venues full of people. Another track to feature piano and Andy’s voice is “Lost It All.” This track also features Juliet Simms of the band Automatic Loveletter and realty show The Voice. What starts as a ballad type track, builds to be another song that adds to the depth of the band as musicians. Once again, these guys are taking a stand and proving they are the real deal. Nearing the end of the disc we are treated to the first single, which is sandwiched between two more vocal/interlude pieces. “In the End” is a culmination of the story told on this disc, but more than that, it is the perfect bookend for this disc. It helps demonstrate everything that is right about this disc. At the same time, it demonstrates that not every disc front loads the best tracks and leaves the lesser tracks for the end. Hell, who am I kidding? This disc doesn’t have a lesser track.
Thanks once again to Andy, Jake, Jinxx, Ashley, and CC for restoring my faith in the current status and condition of rock and roll. The future of the music I love is safe with you.
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