This is part of a Retrospective that covers the bands entire discography. You can find the post for the previous album here. There’s also an introduction and disclaimer that you can read here, that I strongly suggest you start out with.
As far as Blood on the Dance Floor releases go The Anthem of the Outcast is a huge outlier compared to the rest of the bands body of work. Not only is it an EP that’s technically long enough to be a full-length album, with a total of 9 tracks, but it’s also a noticeably different shift in sound for the band, because it’s not an Electronic album. In fact, outside of the occasional little chiptune sound effect and the odd synthesised keyboard note, Anthem of the Outcast features next to no Electronic sounds at all, and is a purely Alternative Rock album with a fairly radio-friendly sound.
For some reason, with this one Dahvie and Jayy decided to ditch their signature style of Electropop and Crunkcore in favour of picking up some guitars, getting a drummer and a bassist and rocking the fuck out. It’s honestly a bit of a surprise, especially if you’re a new listener going through the bands discography for the very first time. Considering that the bands biggest detractors have often made the rather empty and weak criticism of “they don’t even play instruments! They have no talent!” the fact that there’s an entire album where they do just that is… Really fucking funny honestly. Did the critics skip this album? Did they not know about it? Did they just conveniently choose to ignore its existence entirely? Because if The Anthem of the Outcast is anything to go by, not only can Dahvie and Jayy play instruments, but they can do it pretty fucking well. I love Blood on the Dance Floor’s Electronic sound, because it’s unique and there’s honestly nothing else out there that really sounds like it. But as a one-off, this EP is a welcome shift in genre, and it’s really nice to see them try something completely different. How many bands out there decide to change to a completely different genre for a single EP? Not many. Let that sink in for a second. This band, who are often considered to be one of the worst musical acts in history, released an entire album where they just randomly decided to change to a completely different genre, and still managed to retain much of their own unique flair while doing so. This may be coming across as a bit of a rant, but seriously, fuck anyone who says this band doesn’t have a varied catalogue of music. This album alone not only completely dispels one of the biggest criticisms that is often thrown at Blood on the Dance Floor (that they can’t play instruments), but it also proves just how varied and diverse their discography actually is.
And much like the bands previous full length release, Evolution, The Anthem of the Outcast is yet another step into more serious territory for their music. In fact, this is the first album that doesn’t contain a single sexually explicit song. There’s no juvenile songs about fucking. There’s no dirty sex raps. This is just purely emotionally charged, hard-hitting Alternative Rock music focusing primarily on the idea of being an outcast in society. Blood on the Dance Floor have always considered both themselves and their fanbase, the Slash Gash Terror Crew, to be people that don’t fit in, and various songs in their discography have always tried to convey this message. The Anthem of the Outcast is essentially an entire album that aims to drive that message home. This is an album for social outcasts and for people who don’t fit in or conform to society’s standards. And as some what of a social outcast myself, the central theme speaks a lot to me on a personal level. I love this album a lot, not just for the shift in sound it represents, but also for how its lyrical content strongly relates to my own experiences. It’s fucking great.
The EP starts off with a pretty nice opening instrumental, The Calling which sets the albums tone and style pretty well. It’s a great, short little opener and an excellent prelude that ties brilliantly into the albums first full track, The Comeback.
The Comeback is an absolutely phenomenal song and is probably the most energetic and over the top way this EP could have opened up. The first 30 seconds or so immediately kicks things off with some really heavy, fast-paced guitars and some of the best screaming vocals of Jayy Von Monroe’s entire career. It’s an angry, energetic, relatively heavy opening, and it’s arguably the best part of the entire fucking album. Then the chorus hits hard with Dahvie’s clean vocals and transitions the song from one of anger into one of sadness and heartbreak, driving home the central theme of loneliness and being an outcast, with the lyrics “Come back, come back to me. Save me from my misery.” It’s fucking fantastic. And it only gets better as the song goes on, with a really impressive bridge towards the end where the pace grinds to a halt and some soft pianos play as Dahvie repeatedly screams “Come! Come back to me!” over and over again. It’s not the best vocal performance in the world, but much like Fallen Star from the bands debut album, it feels like there’s a genuine emotion in his voice here. It’s a pained scream of sorrow and heartbreak, and it’s honestly just really, really great. It gives me chills every time. I can’t fault it. This is all brought to a peak with the absolutely fantastic guitar solo in the songs final stretch. Blood on the Dance Floor can’t play instruments huh? Listen to that fucking guitar solo and tell me otherwise. It’s great. It kicks ass.
This is then followed by the best song on the album, the title track, Anthem of the Outcast. And it’s absolutely incredible. It’s a high energy track that maintains said energy all throughout, with some truly excellent dynamics between the verses, choruses and transitions. The first verse and chorus in particular feature the best vocal performances of Dahvie Vanity’s entire career. The best he’s ever done. Period. He sounds amazing here. Legitimately on par with some of the best vocalists in the genre. I’m not kidding. How the fuck he achieved this is anyone’s guess, but I’m certainly not complaining. At all. Jayy’s performance in the second verse is equally as good, once again showcasing his exceptional talents as a vocalist, particularly in the final part just before the chorus kicks in again, where he lets out some really powerful shouts. There’s also a nice little chiptune sound effect that plays here along with the guitar and it’s pretty awesome. And just like the previous track, this one also ends with an absolutely fantastic guitar solo that just kicks ass. The lyrics also really hit home for me, focusing on being an outcast and feeling like you don’t belong, with the chorus telling the listener that redemption will be found through unity. It’s powerful stuff.
Next up we have Hell on Heels which is notable for its introduction featuring synthesised keyboards as well as featuring the Alternative Rock band New Years Day, with Ash Costello herself making an appearance as guest vocalist towards the end of the song. Again, the vocals are solid on this one, with Ash’s guest appearance adding some nice diversity in the final stretch, and New Years Day throwing in some really nice guitar playing to go with it. It isn’t my favourite track on the album, but it’s still pretty damn great and a really solid listen.
It isn’t all perfect though. Your Sorry Life is easily the weakest track on the album, and while it isn’t necessarily bad, it’s by far the least memorable and most grating song on the EP. I’m not a fan of the repetitive guitar riff on this one and the verses are borderline annoying, with the vocals being drowned in fade-in effects that just make them feel disconnected from the rest of the track. Again, it isn’t offensively bad or anything, but in a release this solid, it’s definitely a noticeable low point that sticks out like a sore thumb.
Finally, the album wraps up with two slow, acoustic ballads, Worlds Away and Don’t Want to Be Like You. Both are excellent, and feel like the perfect way to close the album out on a softer, more reserved note, considering how full of energy and heavy hitting the first half is. Worlds Away in particular really hits me hard, with the lyrics focusing on being distant from those that you care about. As someone who’s made connections with people all over the world, with the majority of his best friends living in completely different countries and time zones, Worlds Away really resonates with me on a personal level, especially recently when said connections have become a major dynamic in my life in the past year. I love this song. A lot. And it perfectly sells the central theme of the album once again. It reminds me of the connections I’ve made with people and what they mean to me, and it’s truly powerful stuff.
Don’t Want to Be Like You is another great acoustic track and the perfect closer to the album, with some really nice melodies and a catchy, heartfelt chorus. There’s honestly not much else to say about it other than “it’s a great acoustic song”. Not quite as good as Worlds Away, but it’s still great.
There are two other tracks after these, but neither are really worth analysing in depth and I generally just consider them to be skippable bonus tracks. There’s Anthem of the Outcast (Radio Edit) which is just… Anthem of the Outcast again, but with a tiny part of the intro cut out for… The radio…? Or something? Otherwise it’s the exact same song. I’m not sure why this was included at all…
And then finally we have Unforgiven (Matroda Remix) which is a remix of the song Unforgiven from the bands album Evolution by the artist Matroda. It’s fine I guess, but it’s essentially just a weaker version of Unforgiven that I almost never listen to in place of the original and it can be easily skipped. It also feels ridiculously out of place on this EP because it’s the only song that isn’t an Alternative Rock song. Why is this even on here? It’s weird. It doesn’t really belong with this collection of songs at all. Which is precisely why I consider it nothing more than a glorified bonus track. If you like Unforgiven, give this a listen, but it isn’t essential. At all.
Overall The Anthem of the Outcast is a fantastic album. It works really well as both a Blood on the Dance Floor album and as an Alternative Rock album. And while I definitely prefer that the band focuses primarily on being an Electronic act, this radical shift in genre and style was a very nice surprise. As a one-off experiment, it’s fantastic, and it easily competes with the best music the genre has to offer. Worst band in existence? Yeah fucking right.
The Anthem of the Outcast succeeds in being an album for the outcasts and it’s easily among the bands best releases. It’s a fantastic Alternative Rock album that blends the genre well with the bands signature style, with solid songwriting, the best vocal performances of Dahvie Vanity’s entire career and some genuinely powerful, and emotionally charged lyrics that resonate well with someone like me. This album really does mean a lot to me. And I do hope you’ll give this one a listen.
And now, here’s some track ratings for you all:
- The Calling – 9/10
- The Comeback – 10/10
- Anthem of the Outcast – 10/10
- Hell on Heels (Featuring New Years Day) – 9/10
- Your Sorry Life – 6/10
- Worlds Away – 10/10
- Don’t Want to Be Like You – 9/10
- Anthem of the Outcast (Radio Edit) – 10/10 (I guess)
- Unforgiven (Matroda Remix) – 6/10
Would I Recommend It?
Yes. Definitely. It’s pretty long for an EP, especially if you include the two glorified “bonus” tracks, but it’s absolutely worth it in spite of that. It contains some of the most genuine and serious music in the bands discography and it’s extremely accessible compared to most of their other releases thanks to it being an Alternative Rock album rather than Scene Kid Electropop and Crunkcore. If you aren’t a fan of Blood on the Dance Floor, but enjoy Alternative Rock music, I highly recommend giving this one a shot. It’s not like most of their other albums. At all. And I feel there’s something to enjoy for everyone here. It’s very radio-friendly music and as said before, is free of the bands usual attitude and immaturity. This is a serious album with a pretty heartfelt message behind it, and I honestly can’t recommend it enough. It’s great. If you’re going to give any album from this Retrospective a listen, please at least give this one a look. It’s really something else.
Next up we’ll be switching back to full-length releases and will be taking a look at Blood on the Dance Floor’s sixth studio album, Bad Blood. This album is pretty notable for being arguably the darkest, angriest and heaviest in the bands entire discography, with many of the tracks being direct responses to the bands many detractors and critics. There’s even a song where Dahvie Vanity himself challenges the various allegations against him. We’ll get to that, don’t worry.
But until then… See you next time!