Bullet For My Valentine – Bullet For My Valentine
Released: November 5th, 2021
Matt Tuck – Vocals and rhythm guitar
Michael “Padge” Paget – Lead guitar
Jamie Mathias – Bass
Jason Bowld – Drums
“This is the beginning of Bullet 2.0,” says vocalist and lead guitarist Matt Tuck. “It signifies where we are right now. The music is fresh, it’s aggressive, it’s more visceral and passionate than it’s ever been.”
No shit Matt. The self-titled album is just as heavy as any BFMV album to date. They were a band I actually ignored and even avoided for a long time, probably because their image didn’t work for me. But their album Venom turned my head, and whilst 2018’s Gravity didn’t wow me, their string of singles leading to the release of 2021’s Bullet for My Valentine has captured my attention. This is no bullshit heavy metal. Both ‘Parasite’ and ‘Knives’ are a fist pumping, head banging, air drumming blast of pure metal joy. I mean if the riff in ‘Knives’ doesn’t induce random acts of whiplash then are you even living? There’s something in Tuck’s delivery, a hatred so deep and pain so encompassing that I’d probably smash through a brick wall if he so commanded.
Honestly this is the sort of conviction that Robb Flynn channeled on Machine Head’s The Blackening last decade, and whilst that is a lot to live up to, you can see what BFMV are going for in terms of sonic ambition.
They don’t spend the whole album blasting away though. ‘My Reverie’ is seriously groovy and uses the clean/growl dynamic to great effect on the chorus. The guitar solo heavily evokes the spirit of Dimebag but they are way more than the sum of their influences here. ‘No Happy Ever After’ is the kind of bleak crack in the sky that death metal bands make their bread of butter and BFMV step up to prove themselves worthy. Due to COVID safe practices the band had to record their parts separately. Maybe that isolation has rubbed off, not only in the aggressiveness but the precision of each part, from Jamie Mathias and Jason Bowld on the back end to Padge’s soaring and thrashtasic leads. Despite the recording conditions, this is a band album, built for live performance in front of a sweaty, heaving mosh pit. ‘Can’t Escape the Waves’ is closer to more traditional metalcore, so that’s cool for longtime fans, and just proves there’s a heap of ammo in the Bullet arsenal. ‘Bastards’ is a seething, marching call to arms for rebellion and anarchy. In a post-Brexit, still pandemic United Kingdom, the Welsh quartet have a lot of angst to share with their audience and ‘Bastards’ nails the mood perfectly. They can fire off bangers in all directions should they so choose and they leave sore heads in their wake.
There are changes in pace throughout. Like the aforementioned ‘My Reverie’, ‘Rainbow Veins’ is a groove monster with more clean singing than unclean. It’s a rhythmic, pulsating ode to drowning your sorrows, with emphasis on the sorrow. The bridge unleashes in a gut wrenching display of self-destruction before returning to the melancholy chorus. You know that feeling don’t you? Or you wouldn’t be here.
There’s no intention of letting up. Where other bands might take the opportunity to sneak in a ballad or something to get some airplay, BFMV unleash hell at every opportunity. ‘Shatter’ drowns in feedback to open before getting down to proper mosh pit business and a fierce chorus. ‘Paralysed’ is a full on thrash attack that takes no prisoners and completely slays. ‘Death by a Thousand Cuts’ is quite the humdinger by comparison, the kind of cliffhanger that makes you hit repeat and circle back to ‘Knives’ again. It’s not quite ‘Raining Blood’ but it might be ‘Dyer’s Eve’ if you know what I mean.
I’m not anticipating that Bullet for My Valentine will change direction and exclusively make pummelling albums from here on out. But it is self-titled for a reason – as Master Tuck rattled off adjectives in the quote I started with, this is BFMV at their most raw and uncompromising. His words aren’t artist hyperbole either, Bullet delivers on his promise on each and every track. The band clearly needed to make an album like this. But if you indulge me for a moment, I think the British scene needed them to make an album like this too.
With Judas Priest celebrating 50 years, Iron Maiden a tick over 40 and Black Sabbath now long retired, one of the mid-2000s upstarts needed to step up after the lean 90s. While contemporaries Bring Me The Horizon are exciting and trend setting, they often leave metal to the side, so a Bullet For My Valentine with full artillery is a thing of beauty and necessity. Like their cross Atlantic peers Trivium, Bullet are a band whose time has come and Bullet For My Valentine is an album that deserves headline slots.
Bullet For My Valentine – Bullet For My Valentine tracklisting
- My Reverie
- No Happy Ever After
- Can’t Escape The Waves
- Rainbow Veins
- Death By A Thousand Cuts
Check out our interview with BFMV frontman Matt Tuck here
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