Friday, 14 August 2015

Album Review; Bullet For My Valentine - 'Venom'

Released Via RCA Records
Genre: Melodic Metalcore

Track Listing:

1. V
2. No Way Out
3. Army Of Noise
4. Worthless
5. You Want A Battle? (Here's A War)
6. Broken
7. Venom
8. Skin
9. Hell Or High Water (The Harder It Breaks)
10. Pariah

Go back to 2010 and you'll see this Welsh metalcore band at the height of their strength after the success of their album 'Fever'. It looked very much like they were ready to conquer all in their sights, and they had a considerable crowd behind them every step of the way. Then, out of nowhere, the momentum came grinding to a halt after the release of 2013's 'Temper Temper', which saw the band venturing more into rock territory than their established metal territory much to the confusion of many fans and critics alike. Bullet For My Valentine, it appeared, were very close to being left behind from the pack they were vying to lead.
Now, in 2015, the band are armed with the album they claimed harks back to the sound of fan favourite 'The Poison'; heavier and more aggressive than its predecessor, apparently...

Well, I can tell you this album is only more aggressive if your definition of aggression is teenage angst. Heavier than 'Temper Temper'? Perhaps, but then it comes down to your own gauge of heaviness in metal.

'No Way Out' is liable to end up being the band's opening song on their upcoming tour, and one can see why. It carries the usual BFMV sound which their fans will like and is a kind-of-fast song with plenty screams and the usual clean vocals. One glance at the lyrical content of the song and you may wish to rip your hair out, as the band's woe-is-me themed lyrics haven't matured one iota. It's a shame because with better lyrical content this could have been a decent Bullet For My Valentine song. After this, we have 'Army Of Noise', which sounds like it may have been recorded for 'Fever' before failing to make the cut. It's certainly a catchier track, though considering the rabble rousing nature that the song aims for, the chorus is too sugar-sweet. There's a blinder of a guitar solo here, so never let it be said that these guys cannot play their instruments!

Next thing you know, we're back to the shoe-staring, self-pitying whine which attempts to hold up a middle finger. 'Worthless' is exactly what it says on the tin, another shameless attempt from Bullet For My Valentine at targeting their awkward teenage demographic. One cannot help but think, if you want to go forth as a metal band again, give the metal scene more credit than to think that this kind of unimaginative song writing cuts it. Same applies for 'You Want A Battle? (Here's A War)'. Oh, and 'Broken'. Are this band really struggling so much to think of a way to add variety to their lyrics?

When it comes to the claims that this album is more like 'The Poison', this is nowhere near accurate. To say it's like a watered down extension of 'Fever' seems to be more accurate as the band still does not sound as ambitious as they did circa 'The Poison' and 'Scream, Aim, Fire'. The album does little to keep the listener interested and does even less to help the band gain any more fans. Or to regain any lost fans for that matter. It's frustrating to see Bullet For My Valentine receive such high praise from the metal community, especially when they are being called the biggest UK metal band of the last fifteen years, as there is very little on this record or its predecessor to justify such a lofty position.

They have played some great shows in the past to some considerable crowds, and their first two albums led a lot of the youth of a generation (MY generation, I might add!) into metal music, but it feels like those days are long gone and that this band has chosen to pander to the squeaky clean comfort zone of their fans who have absolutely no intention to challenge themselves as they listen to metal. As we all know, challenging records, progressive thinking and musical evolution are what makes metal such an invigorating genre. If you want to play it safe in metal, then you're really missing the point. Bullet For My Valentine have missed the point, but I doubt they will care because a lot of their fans certainly wont.

Rating: 3/10


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