tue 13/04/2021

CD: Bullet For My Valentine - Venom | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Bullet For My Valentine - Venom

CD: Bullet For My Valentine - Venom

Fifth from Welsh metal furies retains their muscle and lack of flab

White snake but certainly not Whitesnake

Bullet For My Valentine retain their fury. Last time round, on 2013’s aptly named Temper Temper, frontman Matt Tuck was snarling about substance abuse affecting his band. This time, on their fifth studio album, he claims his enraged microphone onslaught results from pondering his dead-end origins in Bridgend, Wales, and the way he was dismissed at school for being a metaller.

Bullet For My Valentine retain their fury. Last time round, on 2013’s aptly named Temper Temper, frontman Matt Tuck was snarling about substance abuse affecting his band. This time, on their fifth studio album, he claims his enraged microphone onslaught results from pondering his dead-end origins in Bridgend, Wales, and the way he was dismissed at school for being a metaller. Be that as it may, the album also reeks of torment, indignation and pure fury at a love affair turned sour.

Since splitting with bass-player Jay James earlier this year, Bullet For My Valentine’s sound is, if anything, even fuller and more rugged. Guitarist Michael Paget lets rip with squalls of guitar that ride the terrain between showy fret-wank and super-speed shredding, notably on the machine gun riffing on “Hell or High Water”. Despite Tuck’s insistence the band rejected any song that sounded vaguely poppy, they seem unable to help themselves and songs such as “The Harder The Heart” soar on roared vocal harmonies, loaded with theatrical desperation.

The over-arching impression throughout is of a wounded, even vengeful pride in the face of rejection. The title track does this most directly – “Here we go again/I don’t want another taste of your venom/I feel asphyxiated/It’s more than I can take” – but there is a flavour of it everywhere, especially on the songs “Worthless” and “Skin”. Those looking for a crowd sing-along should go straight to “You Want A Battle” which, while dosed up with the speed metal, also harks back to the likes of Alice Cooper and Twisted Sister – “You want a battle – here’s a war!”

Bullet For My Valentine have sold millions making a noise that’s a damn sight more invigorating than 90% of what’s in the contemporary charts. It’s hardly experimental, in that it follows a strict formula, but it rages with roiled emotion and has a punch that impresses.

Overleaf: Watch the video for "You Want a Battle"

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