BanThe band broke into Billboard’s Top 20 with last record, ‘Set the World on Fire’, and follow-up that momentum with this heavy metal opera. After stints with Avenged Sevenfold, I can’t disagree with references to the Avenged sound. Loads of melody knits together groove-oriented wallops that simply progress the songs to the next “pop” chorus. It’s extremely accessible if you pick the album apart to find the hits. Already the album’s leading single, “In the End”, is soaring through various media video games, wrestling themes, etc. Producer John Feldmann (Escape the Fate, Atreyu, Saosin) knows exactly how to treat it. The strings aren’t terribly heavy and the percussion is closely tied to the rhythm without a lot of variance. Is it a good album? Absolutely, and there’s plenty to like and dislike over 19 songs. The concept involves a young girl who’s a fan of the band. Somehow, in a bit of murky lyrics, she’s playing out this apocalypse in her own mind (in a hospital) about rebels (wild ones) facing off against a totalitarian wing (F.E.A.R.). It ties into some biblical stuff, God in all of us, etc. You can immerse yourself into the storyline or just let it play. “I Am Bulletproof”, “In the End” and “We Don’t Belong” are modern hard rock staples with uber-clean vocals, positive lyrics and some bigger harmonized parts to preach the unity. Digging in deep there’s instrumentals, symphonic pieces and a good use of violin. With its size, I can dissect and place half the record on my BVB playlist. Like rock Gods before them, the album was made into a feature-length film called ‘Legion of the Black’.