My Chemical Romance

The Black Parade

Written by: TL on 06/11/2006 00:39:27

When Thursday-singer Geoff Rickley sat down back in 2002 and helped his then unknown upstart friends from My Chemical Romance produce the rough but sparkling gem that we today know as the band's debut, "I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love", it was unlikely that anyone had any anticipation of what this would send New Jersey off to. It is now obvious that someone very, very clever must have been associated with the leaps of development Gerrard Way and the gang has taken, going from underground phenomena to releasing their make or break album in only four years, and a fair comparison is that they have now released the album it took Green Day eight years and seven releases to create; And they've done it better and in half the time. So yeah, more big words for "My Chem", like enough hasn't already been said about the sky-hyped make-or-break follow up to the huge success of "Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge". But what does this record actually do?

"The Black Parade" is opened by the sound of a heart rate monitor, acoustic guitars and Gerrard's characteristic vocals, and as if to make everyone sure about what the band is up to, a huge groovy guitar riffs kick in. Then respite, fingers snapping and more vocals, a feeling of theatricality finds its way into your head. Before you know it, the heart rate monitor goes "beeeeeeeee..." and we're launched into the up-tempo catchy-as-fuck "Dead". "This Is How I Disappear" and "The Sharpest Lives" keep up the pace, while respectively paying homage to old material like the legendary "Vampires Will Never Hurt You" and "To The End". Both have choruses that will keep you singing along for weeks, and lyrics as well as deliverance that are unmistakingly My Chemical Romance but still more theatric and grand than we are used to - "The Rob Cavallero Effect". "The Sharpest Lives" trails off, and I'm wanting more. Then it happens: the soft haunting piano of the already worlds famous single "Welcome To The Black Parade" hits me like a hammer in the emo-center. This is quity simply the biggest anthem I've ever heard and, standing even stronger in the context of the album, it reinforces its position as a song that seems destined to unite the people of the kids in coming out and making the world aware of their existence. The following "I Don't Love You" is a ballad, and while not really being faulty in any way, it never becomes quite as characteristic as any of the previous songs. Thankfully, the album picks up again with the most low-down kick-ass rock 'n roll hellraiser of a song in "House Of Wolves". Then we're sent on similar rollercoaster-ride with another ballad. In the same way as with "I Don't Love You", there's nothing wrong with "Cancer", you just want to hear the other tracks more, especially the following "Mama"; A song that is easily the wierdest on the CD with its Gogol Bordello feel, but also a serious contender to the top songs with its hysterical and rebellious mood. When "Sleep" reveals itself as being yet another ballad, I start getting scared of a pattern here, but thankfully this song has no problem making aware of itself. Resembling Fighstars "Grand Unification Part. 2" not only in grandeur, this song is going to blow the roof clean off stadiums near you soon, and along with the later "Disenchanted", combines a pair of ballads that will make everyone forget names like "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" and "Wake Me Up When September Ends". Before we get around to "Disenchanted" though, we have to dwell a second on the all too American but still amazingly captivating "Teenagers". About "Disenchanted" I don't really know what more to tell, except that it is indeed a ballad, and that it goes straight to your head and stays there and works so well it hurts. Not that you have time to be astonished though, because the 'last' track "Famous Last Word" is already knocking on the door. A song that simply gets stronger and stronger, has an amazing solo in it and almost parallels "Welcome To The Black Parade" as the anthem of the record. And then suddenly the fireworks are gone and the show is over, and I'm sitting with a feeling like it was just about to start, while the "Hidden Track" pulls the drapes back in front of the stage with even more theatric mood to it.

My Chemical Romance has 'made it' as a band, and as this record clearly demonstrates, they are now experts in the art of writing great songs that are still true to their sound, and still contain enough details to surprise you time and time again. Huge credit must go to Ray Toro, for even though it is Gerrard's unique vocal style that tells the stories and guides through the world of MCR, it is the constant work of Ray and Frank that keeps the songs filled with enough guitar gimmicks to make this so rock 'n roll and just plain exciting.

So what is The Black Parade? Is it just a copy of "American Idiot"? No. It is much better, and it is clearly audible that MCR is a band that has far more 'strings' to play than Green Day ever had. Will it alienate old fans of the band? No, I hardly think so, because it is still unmistakably MCR, and the aspects that created their huge fanbase are still very much present. Is it the best album My Chemical Romance has released? In more than one way, yes, very much so. It doesn't have the naive charm or underground feel that the two previous ones had, but the band is better than ever and I can only drool at the thought of what they might come up with for their next album. Is this really going to make this band as huge as everyones seems to be thinking? Well, it should, it deserves to have that effect.


Download: Welcome To The Black Parade, Mama, Famous Last Words
For the fans of: Green Day, Queen
Listen: MySpace

Release date 23.10.2006
Warner Brothers / Reprise

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