Considering they've been around for less than five years, electro glam duo Blood on the Dance Floor (alias Dahvie Vanity & Jayy Von Monroe) have released a staggering amount of material, including five albums – most of which were self-released by the band – and an avalanche of hit singles, with one of the fastest-growing fanbases I've seen for an indie outfit this year. Their latest album Evolution came out this summer with a strong chart performance and they've already put out two more releases since then – the first being three-song bonus package Clubbed to Death (which you can download for free on the band's Facebook page), and now the nine-track EP Anthem of the Outcast. Between all that business, they've also kicked off an extensive “Scene is Dead” North American tour and are heading across the Atlantic for the UK Vans Warped Tour. I've also heard the band's tracks popping up in some horror-friendly media lately (including an episode of Silverwood on Black Box TV, directed by FEARnet's very own Drew Daywalt), and I'd heard their latest venture is creatively darker than usual, so I knew I had to investigate this phenomenon further.
“The songs on [Anthem] come from self experiences and dark chapters of our past lives,” says band founder Dahvie Vanity, who hopes that listeners will find strength through the music to endure their own difficult trials. “Ultimately we wanted to create an EP that will remove ailments and suffering from the people we love and support.” To achieve this, the band took a much more organic approach than their previous material, which had up to this point been hard and heavy electro with a dirty bump-and-grind “shock pop” vibe. The departure taken in Anthem is shocking in a different way, by revealing an intimacy and melodic sensibility that I wasn't expecting. Guitars and string arrangements come to the forefront for the first time, and the band's sexed-up vocal aggression is reeled back in favor of intense but melodically solid singing, revealing a much deeper creative toolbox than I'd expected.
The moody intro "The Calling" is the first hint that the band has dialed down their flamboyant approach in favor of a more haunting atmosphere, which I'd first begun to notice on Evolution with acoustic versions of songs like “Frankenstein & the Bride.” The title track appears here in the full and radio-edit versions, and features some of the best punk-influenced guitar and anthemic vocals on the EP, but the real standouts are the darkly melancholy acoustic ballad "Don't Want to Be Like You” (which you can hear in the clip below), the clean and punchy metalcore entry "The Comeback” and the eerie, gypsy-flavored "Worlds Away.” The closest this release comes to the band's earlier sound is in "Hell on Heels (Givin' in to Sin)" and a standard electro-house remix of “Unforgiven" from Evolution, which doesn't really do much to enhance the original. But those small missteps aside, Anthem is a solid EP overall, and hints at an interesting sea change for the band's next full-length project... and strangely enough, I feel more “evolution” happening on this EP than in the actual album by that name. Given their quick turnaround rate in the studio, we shouldn't have to wait long to find out if they choose to continue down this more interesting path; I've got my fingers crossed that they will.
The band is doing the UK Vans Warped Tour later this month and will pick up their North American tour again through mid-December, so be sure to drop by the band's official site to see if you're on their flight path. But before you go, check out the vid for Don't Want To Be Like You,” which the band describes as a big departure from their previous promos, shot in seven different cities over a one-week period.