Bullet For My Valentine – Bullet For My Valentine (Album Review)

Bullet For My Valentine – Bullet For My Valentine (Album Review)

Welsh Metal icons, Bullet For My Valentine, often abbreviated as BFMV, were first established in 1998 covering Rock and Metal legends of the time like Nirvana and Metallica before coming into their own mythic legacy. The release of their debut album The Poison in 2005 rippled throughout the Metal world and marked the arrival of the new sound of UK Metal and Metalcore. The record debuted in the US on Valentines Day 2006 and entered the Billboard 200 chart at number 128. Their sophomore endeavor, 2008’s Scream Aim Fire, would go on to annihilate those numbers by cracking the same chart at number four just two years later. Now, after six albums, countless tours, and millions of record sales, Bullet For My Valentine is hitting sonic superhighways again on Friday, November 5, 2021 with their self-titled seventh studio album, Bullet For My Valentine.

Currently comprised of Matt Tuck (guitar, vocals), Michael Paget (lead guitar, backing vocals), Jamie Matthias (bass, backing vocals), and Jason Bowld (drums), the band is venturing into heavier territory on their latest endeavor. In a press release, Tuck stated, (This album) signifies where we are right now. The music is fresh, it’s aggressive, it’s more visceral and more passionate than it’s ever been.

The album begins with a static-laden play on a radio changing dials that cycles through garbled snippets of some BFMV classics from their catalogue like “Your Betrayal” and the infamous “Tears Don’t Fall” among others that will immediately capture the attention of long-time fans. This is just the opening to the first track “Parasite” that cranks out a high speed punch to the palate after the radio effect fades out. This could be the band’s way of signifying their progressions and moving through their past to evolve their sound into the album they have laid before us. Here is the first taste of the intense screams and pounding drums that heightens the visceral viciousness that threads the entire album.

Moving on, “Knives” kicks in right behind “Parasite” without slowing the pace and maintaining intensity. The rhythm of the track is different and the ratio of cleans to screams will be familiar to old-school fans, but there are still some surprises here with the piercingness of Tucks vocals and the chest heaving gravity of Matthias, Tuck, and Paget’s string work. It is violent, vicious and inescapable. 

“My Reverie” feels like classic BFMV with the strategic use of majority clean vocals and interwoven grittier screams that strike a balance between entrancing and enraged. One thing that really stands out on this album is the amount of technical precision the guys demonstrate in the coordination and delivery of every song. The attention to detail in transitions and composition is a credit to their skills as composers and storytellers. 

Then there is “Bastards” which has an anthemic quality that from the very onset with it’s enticing, rolling drum beat intro that guides the listener easily into the heart of the song. It feels like a fight song with it’s call to “Fight with me/ Together we can overthrow authority.” It’s both taunting and beckoning of the anarchist inside us all. This song is for anyone that’s ever felt pushed and wanted to push back. “Rainbow Veins” opens with some heavy Deftones vibes before unfolding into a sprawling, almost ethereal wave. The chorus has a conflicted and near-haunting quality that carries over into the verses, like a stalker in the shadows, ever present. 

Nearing the end of the album, Bullet For My Valentine pulls out the hard-hitting percussion and dancing electric chords on “Paralysed.” Here the gates are open and they are flooding listeners with a cacophony of sounds and layers that are orchestrated in a way that doesn’t just create a song, but a mood. The vitriol and helplessness is visceral here in the screams that feel like they collapse Tuck’s chest the longer they extend and in the pummeling bass of Bowld’s drums. Keeping things chugging along is the rampant kickstarter pace of “Death By A Thousand Cuts.” This is a track that plays off various dynamics ranging from the soft to sharp, from gritty to grandiose in the way the chords sing through the bridge. After a tumultuous journey through this record, Bullet For My Valentine closes things out with a scream that resonates and cascades into the void as the song runs itself out. 

While their last album may have received mixed reviews for its affinity towards a cleaner, more Nu Metal inclination, the band has made a full 180 with this self-titled release. It is harder, grittier, and more unyielding than its predecessor in nearly every way. The technical skill and compositional dexterity exhibited on this album is engaging and exciting in a way that will intrigue new fans and entice OGs. So, for their continuing evolution and commitment to growth, Cryptic Rock gives Bullet For My Valentine 4 out of 5 stars.

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Patricia Jones
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Patricia is in a relationship with music. Her tastes run the gamut of Madonna to Mastodon, but her soul belongs to Rock n Roll. While pursuing her Bachelor’s in Communications and Journalism at USC Upstate, she worked behind the scenes in venues and has since scribed for Examiner.com, The Front Row Report, as well as AXS.com. Music is her drug of choice and considers herself “just another nightlife junkie high on Metal.”

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