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

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Whether or not you’re a fan of Bullet For My Valentine, it’s hard to deny that over the nearly 25 years that the band has been around, they have contributed an invaluable amount to the metal world. Just before this year reaches it’s end, the 4-piece have dropped an absolutely monumental album. The self-titled album holds 10 tracks that all deserve to be on the record, and it’s arguably their best performance yet. It’s heavier than their previous works, but still holds that classic BFMV personality that has kept the band close to the hearts of their listeners for all this time.

For just under 50 minutes, the listener is given a full dose of Bullet For My Valentine in their absolute prime. There is an incredible amount of energy through the whole record, that same kind of energy you get from a band releasing their debut or sophomore album. The trademark sound of the band exists in every track, but there is a massively heavy twist on them that completely refreshes their sound and makes this a new offering worth everyone’s time.

Throughout the self-titled record, you begin to notice just how seamlessly the group has fused together old and classic metalcore ideas with new ones. This is undoubtedly a factor that has aided in keeping the band relevant and fresh over the years, and consequently they’ve been able to keep old fans happy, whilst acquiring new ones.

The group went back to their long-time friend and producer Carl Brown to give life to their latest record. The production is pristine, and every single sound has a special place on each track. Nothing is fighting for space, and there is a tonne of dynamic variation from soft and intimate moments, to shattering heavy sections. This album was made to crush speakers, as well listener’s expectations of what Bullet For My Valentine’s limitations as a band are.

Matt Tuck, one of the original members of the band, has performed insanely well on this record. The harsh vocals are suitably heavy, as well as well-enunciated, and the singing is just as competent as ever. It sounds like Tuck hasn’t aged a day, essentially, but has still managed to build on his experience and refine his voice further, and this is evident on this new record. It’s hard to say which moment is a stand-out one for him, as he really keeps the energy and dominance consistent throughout the whole album. Twist my arm, though, and you’ll have me choosing “Rainbow Veins”. It’s undoubtedly one of my favorite tracks for a bunch of reasons, but Tuck’s performance shines for me on this one specifically. It holds a bunch of emotion, has a lot of vocal variance, and when he sings “reality thrown away” (especially the final repetition) he sounds uncannily like the late Chester Bennington from Linkin Park, which hit me hard.

Michael Paget is, like Tuck, a founding member of the band, and having a BFMV album without him would be like having a guitar without strings. Fans are going to be smiling from ear to ear with this record, as there is a guitar solo in every single track. They all have their special personalities, but that main style that is iconic to Paget and the band itself is certainly there. Otherwise, there is a lot going on in terms of guitars in this album, from big thrashy sections and powerful riffs all the way to brooding melodic moments. The solo during “Bastards” that is unleashed atop a huge chugging pattern is a top moment, but again, this whole album is all killer, no filler. Every moment is potentially the best moment.

It was too hard to write about this album in a general kind of way, so sit down, grab a cup of tea, and let’s go for a little expedition through the self-titled album from Bullet For My Valentine.

The first track, “Parasite”, is an exemplary opener, in that it pretty much gives you everything you need to know about this album and how it’s going to sound in terms of production and composition. After a minute and a half of what can only be described as a homage to the band’s previous musical releases, the listener is blasted (quite literally on the drums) with an explosion of sound that heralds the new era of Bullet For My Valentine. Jason Bowld, who has been the drummer since 2018, wastes no time reminding everybody of his prowess. His performance in this song and the album as a whole is remarkable. The group certainly wasn’t lying when they said that this would be their heaviest release yet.

We’re dropped straight into “Knives”, with no break between the aggressive end of “Parasite” and this introduction. The call and response between Tuck and the band in the verses is a load of fun to listen to, and in this track I immediately noticed how much Jamie Mathias, the bassist, is contributing to the sound of the record. As he matches the kick pattern through the high-pace intro, it adds an extra level of punch to it, and this is a small example of his dominant presence throughout the record. The bridge in this track is staggering. It lands on the listener’s head like a sledgehammer, with the guitars chugging away to their hearts’ content, and Tuck letting loose on the microphone.

My Reverie” provides us with the first moment of calm, but it quickly descends into a groovy beat that will have anyone’s head bopping. The verses creep along and contain this cool little ‘ting’ sound effect which is a real nice bright touch to the otherwise dark and brooding atmosphere being created by the band. An intense guitar solo finishes this one off, and we’re thrown straight into “No Happy Ever After”, introduced to us by a blistering drum fill from Bowld. This track is full of classic old-school metal riffing, and the chorus is definitely one of the catchiest on the album. The vocals in this track are quite entertaining, also; they’re moving around the mix during the second verse like voices swimming in your head.

Track 5 is “Can’t Escape the Waves”, and it definitely deserves a spot in your favorites list. There’s a huge atmosphere as the guitars and drums blast through a fast-paced sequence, but the bass really stands out in this track. During some transitions, it’s front and center in the mix, but it then bleeds out into the background to add to the heaviness of other sections, and it’s done incredibly effortlessly. The chorus in this track is surely a highlight, also. It’s got this waltzy feeling to it, and the overall sound is massive. It’s made even better when the lead guitar matches Tuck’s notes when he sings “treading water”.

There’s a pretty big change in attitude from “Can’t Escape the Waves” to “Bastards”. This one is a huge call to arms, an uprising, and it seems that everyone is obliged to attend. As soon as the track started, I immediately noticed how the track was marching forward, so you can imagine my excitement when actual marching snare drums were layered into the mix. There are some really cool variations and fills from Bowld throughout this track. He is the foundational driving force behind this track, but he still takes the opportunity to put his own little flare on certain sections which only tells me that he’s having the time of his life playing these songs. The gang vocals screaming “hate” in the beginning immediately reminded me of, funnily enough, the novel 1984 by George Orwell. Every day, the protagonist has to attend the ‘2 minutes hate’, a period where citizens are permitted to vent their anguish and direct it towards the enemy regions. The mixture of gang vocals, Tuck screaming with a megaphone-style effect over his voice, and, well, the word ‘hate’… all brought that together to transport me back to that novel.
Digressions aside, this track is sure to be a huge, huge crowd-pleaser.

Rainbow Veins” is one of the absolute highlight tracks on this record. It’s colossal and powerful, has a massive atmosphere, and some simply beautiful melodies and performances from all the members of the band. The introduction is simple and bare, just a guitar strumming a foreboding melody whilst Tuck sings with a haunting gentleness. What I love is that the band then pops the tempo up by a mere 8 bpm as they burst into the big main introduction. That little tempo increase gives it that extra push forward to keep the energy flowing through the track to the rest of the album. There are fun little features throughout this whole number, as well. The first verse is stripped back once again to bring about a desolate and menacing atmosphere, then accentuated by some triplet bursts on the kick drum and a repeated arpeggio from the bass. Bring the verse back a second time, and those triplet bursts are emphasized and aggravated by the guitars and the bass now accompanying the kicks. I could chin wag much more about this track, but let’s move on.

Now, here comes a big one. “Shatter” could well be one of Bullet For My Valentine’s most aggressive tracks. It packs more attitude than a street fighter and I was certainly not ready for the introduction. The energy barely lets up, and even the more subdued sections are full of pent-up energy like a wild animal in a cage. The guitar solo in this is amazing, and the gang vocals behind it are a perfect addition to keep the musical force of the album constant. The china cymbal hits before the heavy section are like a metalhead’s sign for “something’s about to go down”, and that’s exactly what happens towards the end of this track.

“Paralysed” is a huge thrashy nu metal track, and it holds one of the most fun and entertaining bridges in the album. It’s colossal, full of chugs in an angry nu metal kind of way, and it’s repeated towards the end, but with some cheeky scratches on the guitar strings layered on top of it. It’s almost like a DJ scratch effect which further adds to that nu metal personality this song holds. If this track were a Slipknot track, it would sit perfectly in the “Vol. 3 The Subliminal Verses” from 2004.

The final track stole “Rainbow Veins”’s place as my favorite track on this record. “Death By a Thousand Cuts” is the best possible way the band could have ended this album. No introduction to this track could prepare the listener for the explosion that follows. It contains quintessential BFMV blistering riffs, a beautiful and high-energy chorus, but the best thing is that every member has injected their whole personality into their respective performances. Bowld litters this track with some fantastic fills, both Paget and Tuck shred the absolute hell out of their guitars, and Mathias is pushing the heaviness along with the same melodies played by the guitars throughout most of the album. “Death By a Thousand Cuts” encapsulates this album flawlessly, and ties it all together as the final track. Everything you just absorbed is covered in one memorable and focused performance.

So my tea’s gone cold… but who has time to sip one when an album like this engages you from start to finish? From “Parasites” all the way to “Death By a Thousand Cuts”, the listener is given a full dose of Bullet For My Valentine at their most powerful and entertaining. It’s easy to hear the heart and soul that each member of the band has poured into their performances, and Tuck’s songwriting has hit a level of ascendancy which can’t be overstated. Whilst the album ebbs and flows in its delivery of various melodic ideas and sonic power, there is an intense unyielding energy that permeates every single track. It’s one thing for a metal act to become massive, but it’s a whole other thing for a band to stay on top as a giant of the genre for decades. With this release, Bullet For My Valentine continue to prove to us that they are here to stay, and their position as metal royalty is indisputable.

Released On: November 5th2021
Released By: Spinefarm Records
Genre: Metalcore

Musicians:

  • Matt Tuck / Vocals, Guitar
  • Michael Paget / Guitar
  • Jamie Mathias / Bass
  • Jason Bowld / Drums

“Bullet For My Valentine” Tracklist:

  1. Parasite
  2. Knives
  3. My Reverie
  4. No Happy Ever After
  5. Can’t Escape the Waves
  6. Bastards
  7. Rainbow Veins
  8. Shatter
  9. Paralyzed
  10. Half Alive

8.5 Excellent

The self-titled full length from Bullet From My Valentine is their best release to date. 7 studio albums is incomprehensible for most people, but for BFMV, it’s a way to set the bar higher each time. This album is full of catchy choruses that are surely going to be yelled back at the band by thousands of fans, and the performances from the band are just as fun as they are astounding. The heaviness in this record is staggering, and that is part of what makes it so engaging and fresh for the band. With this album, the 4-piece has proven that they don’t intend to slow down any time soon. In fact, it sounds like they’re going full speed ahead.

  • Songwriting 8
  • Musicianship 9.5
  • Originality 7.5
  • Production 9
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1 Comment

  1. Excellent review! This is the best one I’ve read yet. Their new album is easily in my Top 3. I can listen to this album from start to finish without skipping a track (something that hasn’t happened since “Scream Aim Fire”- my personal fav). There is no filler on this album, amazing work from BFMV. 9/10.

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