Black Veil Brides shared a common vision for their self-titled, fourth full-length album. After 2013's sweeping and soaring concept epic, Wretched and Divine: Story of the Wild Ones and short film, Legion Of The Black, the band - Andy Biersack [lead vocals], Ashley Purdy [bass, backing vocals], Jake Pitts [lead guitar], Jinxx [rhythm guitar, violin], and Christian "CC" Coma [drums] - decided to scale everything back and return to the heart of their sound.
"Going into this record, we agreed to strip it all down," affirms Andy. "We wanted to go back to writing songs together at a rehearsal space. Every band starts that way. Over time, so many groups stop doing that because they spend so much time together on the road. We did just the opposite. Once we started, it felt right. It's a heavy, ballsy rock 'n' roll album."
In order to capture that spirit, the boys reached out to legendary producer Bob Rock [Metallica, Motley Crue] to take over behind the board. With sessions at his studio in Vancouver and Jim Henson Studios in Los Angeles, they tapped into an unbridled and unrestrained energy. Bob proved essential to that process.
"His level of knowledge in terms of song building is incredible," the singer enthuses. "He's an orchestrator, and he taught me so much about what goes into making a great song. I learned more about song-craft in the past couple of months than I did in my whole life. His work continues to be inspirational to all of us - from Dr. Feelgood to The Black Album. Working with Bob was a real treat."
At the same time, the lyrics convey an urgency that hits hard. Andy took a different approach this time around, literally living and writing in the moment.
"The time right before Wretched and Divine was dark for me emotionally," he admits. "I lost a loved one who was close to me. I was in such a funk. I created such a specific vision, and the band had to follow it. We all really wanted this record to be more of a collaborative effort."
"Faithless" stands emblematic of that. The vocalist came up with the idea after spotting a billboard paid for by the Atheist Organization of Southern California, while stuck in traffic. Over a gnashing and gritty guitar, Andy examines the inherent hypocrisy of "organized atheism" before delivering an unforgettable and undeniable hook that'll make you everyone a believer in Black Veil Brides.
"It's fashionable to talk shit about others having beliefs," he sighs. "I grew up in a religious family, but I'm not religious. However, it's troubling that young kids are being influenced by people who are God-free just because it sounds cool to be God-free. When someone around them dies though, they're the first ones asking for prayers. If you make plans of any kind, you're making a leap of faith. Without some form of faith, there's no reason to live."
On the other end of the spectrum, there's "Heart Of Fire", which blazes brightly with muscular distortion and an anthemic refrain. "It's one of my favorite songs we've ever done," smiles Andy. "When you first get on the road in any band, you're incredibly poor, and you just drink to try and get through. By the same token, you can have the best times of your life in those moments. No matter whether I'm 12, 23, or 43, my spirit remains the same when it comes to making music."
That heart drove Wretched and Divine to #7 on the Billboard Top 200, moving over 47,000 copies upon release. The band has served as Warped Tour headliners, performed everywhere from Download to Rock on the Range, and toured with acts ranging from Avenged Sevenfold and Hollywood Undead to Slash and Motley Crue. Moreover, they've covered Alternative Press four times with the 2013 issue becoming the highest pre-ordered magazine in the publication's history and "the top-selling issue of 2013". Their hit single "In the End" even garnered the Revolver Golden God Award for "Song of the Year" in 2013. However, Black Veil Brides is a statement. "This is definitive of the sound we have always wanted to achieve," Andy leaves off. "This is important and cohesive. It's a statement of who we are. We hope it can inspire others as our idols inspired us."