My Chemical Romance

Conventional Weapons

Written by: TL on 15/03/2013 18:35:33

After the meteoric rise to the pinnacles of fame 'My Chem' enjoyed during the heights of "Black Parade"'s promotional cycle, it really shouldn't have surprised anybody, that the band first reacted by recording what they called a much more back-to-basics follow-up, nor that they eventually shelved that effort in favour of the revolution in colour that was 2010's "Danger Days". Now had there never been a binned album to begin with, I still think "Danger Days" would've sparked the same discussions over the change in style - the time was simply right for the band to come under that sort of wannabe-critical scrutiny - but the fact that they kept some work away from the fans gave detractors the right to wonder if that unreleased stuff wouldn't have been better.

With the two-by-two release of the ten songs from the "Conventional Weapons" sessions however, in October-through-recent-February, we've all had the chance to listen and come up with our own answer to the question; "Should they have released these instead". What I think is more important all together though, is that we appreciate that they released them at all, because going for by far the most of the "Conventional Weapons", is that they're pretty damn potent.

Opener "Boy Division" comes roaring out the gates with the sort of dark, runaway train, punk energy that "Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge" fans have missed since their favourite record. Similarly, should-have-been super-single "AMBULANCE" conjures up the band's recognisable Queen-choirs in a wild scamper towards a high-strung chorus comparable to the old "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)", which is nigh on irresistably catchy. Meanwhile "Gun" reveals the band's love for retro punk alá The Ramones and "Kiss The Ring" gives a "House Of Wolves"-like flash of rock'n'roll badassery that always lights up a blaze in embrace with Gerard Way's extremely charismatic vocal delivery.

And overall, that's the key to "Conventional Weapons" I think, no matter if you're listening to the high-energy belters already referenced, or to the 80's-ish glamrock grandeur of power-ballads "The World Is Ugly" or "The Light Behind Your Eyes" - The feeling that for once, My Chemical Romance are letting the magic power of their imaginary world permeate songs that reference moods and elements we know from real life rock history. Is it less original than what they did on "Danger Days"? Without a question I think. But for all my fascination with the uniqueness of that record, there's something much more relatable in how the band has turned their gaze backwards and cast their band's strong personality over the things that each individual in the group so clearly loves.

So yes, "Conventional Weapons" as an album should strike you as sort of a knee-jerk reaction compared to the hyper-constructed fairy tales of "The Black Parade" and "Danger Days", but that's what ends up making it a much more immediate and endearing glimpse into a place that feels more personal to this band become cartoon characters. Okay, so you can hear why the awkwardly structured bridge of "Make Room" was eventually worked into the infamous "Danger Days" track "Na Na Na" instead, but weak points like that are more than made up for, by flourishes like how Mikey Way's bass powers in and underscores the last chorus of "The World Is Ugly", how Frank Iero and Ray Toro's guitars rip up "Kiss The Ring" all Wolfmother-ish, or how Gerard sends the refrain of "Boy Division" rambling off into darkness like a mine cart into a haunted, bottomless pit. So overall, considering the high standards of this material, which wasn't even initially considered up to the band's standards, I continue to feel sorry for anyone who's being truthful when claiming they've gotten over My Chemical Romance.

8

Download: AMBULANCE, Gun, Boy Division, Kiss The Ring, The World Is Ugly
For The Fans Of: Green Day, Fall Out Boy, There For Tomorrow
Listen: facebook.com/MyChemicalRomance

Release Date October 2012-February 2013
Reprise

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