With their third album, Black Veil Brides complete their transformation from a heavily made-up metalcore band to a full-fledged gothic glam metal band, mixing drama and swagger on the sprawling and conceptual Wretched & Divine. Channeling the freewheeling power of Mötley Crüe into their moody sound, the album finds the band really carving out a niche for themselves among the faceless waves of metalcore/post-hardcore acts. While the 19-song Wretched & Divine is ostensibly a concept album complete with a two-act structure and recurring elements, stripping those elements away reveals an album that is, at its core, a pretty straightforward set of ripping glam metal. Though the conceptual elements do a great job of tying the album into the band's dark image, the music at the heart of the album is solid all on its own. That said, the two come together to create a pretty entertaining package of over the top rock & roll escapism, drawing the listener into the gloomy world created by Black Veil Brides before attempting to rock their socks off with some old-fashioned riffage and big singalong choruses. For fans of the band, the transition from metalcore to third wave glam will have been a (relatively) long time coming, given their steady transition to make their sound match their teased-out appearance. For anyone else who might've picked up this album and immediately began searching for the release date after seeing the bands photo on the back cover, Wretched & Divine is a solid album of neo-hard rock that might just be the thing your inner Crüe fan has been looking for.
Gregory Heaney, Rovi