Review Summary: Evolution is indeed what this release shows but not to a sufficient degree to call this a good album.13 of 16 thought this review was well written
It may seem surprising to some that the Floridian duo known as Blood On The Dance Floor have released five studio albums to date, with their sixth scheduled for release in 2013. It seems only yesterday that the band created such a storm of hatred from everyone from pubescent girls to their grandparents, and many would happily erase the memory of them from their mind. This is a band that scene kids and scene kids alone seem to "get" as they have been met with an insane about of hate since their inception. They formed in 2007 out of Dahvie Vanity and David Jesus Torres' interests in creating a joke electronica project but they soon garnered a fan base known as the Slash Gash Terror Crew. Their sound primarily involved throwing in references to Hello Kitty among various sexual connotations, and many people threw the show at them (in their live shoes, this became literal).
As such, being a part of an almost universally hated band such as Blood On The Dance Floor must be exceedingly difficult in numerous ways. First and foremost would come the actual music that you are creating. There would be two choices available: Either try and appeal to the market that caught on to your previous material and enjoyed it (13 year old scene chicks for the most part) or attempt to move forward and put your past behind you. With Evolution, the band attempted the titular evolution by mostly ditching the sexually obsessed lyrics and instead layering the electronic beats with synths as loud as possible to create a wall of sound whilst Dahvie Vanity attempts his singing over the top of it all to mixed results, with the occasional background screaming from Jayy Von Monroe. And the result was not as abysmal as the press this band receives would suggest.
Now, 2012's Evolution is by no means a spectacular album that will set the world alight, nor is it even a good album. Instead, this is a release that definitely marks a shift into more of an accessible, straight forward approach for the duo that allows them to gear their music toward more of a commercial market. Unfortunately the band's bad legacy will forever weigh them down and this did not go as planned, however one can credit them for at least attempting to make changes to their music that many people who previously heard them cited as the reasons for their overly negative reviews. To begin with, this release has far less of the talking style of rapping that they used on past releases, and this is saved for only a handful of the tracks scattered among a load of different ones. Also, it is worth noting that instead of the bland beats that were found on every album they had put out to date that were clearly a Skrillex homage, Evolution at least mixes the beats up a little.
The vocals here are the one thing that definitely marks a huge improvement for Blood On the Dance Floor. As someone who never previously held any manner of hate toward the band, this took me by surprise and I was rather cautious as to whether the band could pull off a primarily clean singing record. A lot of people love to hate on Dahvie Vanity's voice and say that he would require extensive use of auto-tune to sound remotely listenable but on here he is actually rather solid (something he would go on to improve some more on the band's latest outing, the Anthem Of The Outcast EP-their only praised release so far). His singing is quite good here and the rapping, where used, is nowhere near as irritating as found in the past. The overly cocky tones are gone, which is especially good when partnered with the fact that the band strayed away from the beaten lyrical path from their previous albums by ditching the sexually oriented lyrics that were one of the primary reasons they became so universally hated in the past anyway.
Indeed, the lack of sexual innuendos around every warped corridor of a Blood On The Dance Floor is certainly a cause for discussion as the band in the past relied all too heavily on these vile, disgusting lyrics that included such inventive song titles as "S My D" among others (yes that is a real song title). There are a few tracks that dip back into this style, with lines such as "I've got a porn star bitch sucking my dick at the bar" that really do show that the band has not matured all that much and still have a lot of immature tendencies. At least this time they give a reason for this however with "We're young at heart" in particular showing that they can back up the sexual moments, but this is not enough to excuse them for their sins against the music industry and the listener's ear with these irritating lyrics. The rest of the album is not particularly well thought out where the words are concerned but at least it is an improvement from their past material (again, coming from a fan of the band), and it is certainly nice to not hear the F-word coming from the mouth of Dahvie Vanity every few words as was the case with nearly every track they had put out in the past.
The worst offence that this release commits is the fact that many of the songs sound exactly the same and that no matter how much progress the band appears to have made in terms of writing actual songs (instead of sexual love letters to various girls in song format that are guaranteed to get a back lash from feminist people everywhere), they still slip up frequently. Most of the beats are the same synth-heavy nonsense they have used before, just with a lot more presence and variation (namely, 3 different beats instead of 2) than on albums like Let's Start A Riot. Their slip-ups are far less frequent than they were on this album's predecessor (their worst album to date) but are certainly still there. The screaming is a little more powerful than before but definitely hasn't improved much and their first screamer on the first 3 albums from the band was a lot stronger than Jayy is. Jayy massively improved on the EP that followed this release but at this point in the band's career (only a few months previously, surprisingly), he was still the monotonous, dull screamer that he had been beforehand.
Evolution is by no means the perfect album but nor does it attempt to be. Instead, this is a semi-passable attempt at creating something listenable by Blood On The Dance Floor and at least shows off some progression from their older material that attempts to win over people who were previously in absolute contempt of the band. Congratulations, BOTDF, in creating a 58 minute, 18 track affair that at least shows some willingness to change. For those who judge the band's prior material, consider checking this, but for those who enjoyed their previous material, such as myself, it really is not that good and Its Hard To Be A Diamond In A Rhine Stone World will forever be their masterpiece. Make your choice.