In the past five years, My Chemical Romance has exploded out of the New Jersey emo scene onto the worldwide stage, and its new album, "The Black Parade," is its grandest gesture yet.

In the past five years, My Chemical Romance has exploded out of the New Jersey emo scene onto the worldwide stage, and its new album, "The Black Parade," is its grandest gesture yet. Due this week via Reprise, the set is a concept piece in which the title doubles as the band's alter-ego. It is loaded with Queen-style theatrics and even a guest appearance by Liza Minnelli.

"The concept of 'The Black Parade' is about secrecy, about being let into a secret society," frontman Gerard Way says. "The project called for something new, and we wanted [the album] to be broken as if it were a new band. I've heard people refer to it and say, 'That was the best viral marketing ever.' I don't even know what that means."

The quick success of the single "Welcome to the Black Parade" is an early indicator that fans are embracing My Chemical Romance's rock-opera tendencies. The new album is heavy on piano, with Way leading the band into punky, cabaret-like detours and '80s-style power ballads, all the while singing like he's aiming for the lead in "Rent."

The increasing cost of Way's grandiose visions isn't lost on him, but for now, at least, Reprise is willing to indulge. "It's about songs, first and foremost, but it's also about spectacle, and spectacle is expensive," he says. "I think [Reprise] is excited that this band is not just a rock band. I've met so many people at the label who said they feel like they're working a 'Ziggy Stardust.'"

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