Review Summary: An album that tries to mix old and new metal, but loses any chance of progression in the process.
So… Bullet for my Valentine; the current media darlings. These four young Cardiff natives have won over the heavy metal press, in no small part due to their songs Hand Of Blood
and Cries In Vain
, and their mini-album/EP Bullet For My Valentine
. After their own promises of bringing British metal back to the forefront, does The Poison deliver? Well, yes and no.
In trying to meld old-school thrash with new-school metalcore, Bullet For My Valentine have basically shot themselves in the foot. They have tried to concentrate on making this cross-era music as good as they possibly can, and in doing so, they’ve not been able to create an album that’s original and especially diverse. What they have made, however, is a sonically-pleasing album that will (and has) no doubt attract(ed) the majority of the masses, which Bullet have had no shame or hesitation in admitting that’s the audience they want to have.
Still, despite this rather major criticism, there’s still a few very good songs here that are worth your time and attention; 4 Words (To Choke Upon)
, admittedly, is a very, very worthy metal anthem, and perhaps all that’s good about Bullet For My Valentine is contained in this very song - an outrageously strong riff (that features a lot of open strings, or “unfretted” notes), a good sing-along chorus and drum beats that accentuate the music, rather than draw attention away from it. Tears Don’t Fall
features mostly clean singing, which makes a nice change, but this about as far as progression goes for this band, although that’s not a real relevant point for this track. It features an outrageously strong riff (that features a lot of open strings, or “unfretted” notes), a good sing-along chorus and drum beats that accentuate the music, rather than draw attention away from it. Tears Don’t Fall
features mostly clean singing, which makes a nice change, but this about as far as progression goes for this band, although that’s not a real relevant point for this track. All These Things I Hate (Revolve Around Me)
is a not-too-shabby pop-metal epic, which is quite a rare thing, it must be said; it allows the instruments to take over the majority of the song, which again, deviates from the scream/sing dynamic (for the majority anyway), which is always a plus. And to put the top on it, the solos are damn fine - clear and concise, and even if they (again) are similar to previous solos on the album, it can’t be taken away that they’re hummable and pleasing to the ears.
So why the low score, if it gains all this praise? The reason becomes clear after a few listens through; each song resembles each other - samey riffs, same vocal structure, same breakdowns in which the guitar/drums leave the speakers to allow the other instrument a moment in the sun. And no offence to Matt Tuck’s ability to play guitar and sing, but considering how cocky he’s been about telling the press how good this album was going to be, then it’s just not good enough to be taken seriously, other than by pseudo-metal fans who can’t seem to handle heavier metal.
Apart from the above listed songs, Her Voice Resides
, Cries in Vain
and Suffocating Under Words of Sorrow (What Can I Do)
, the band sounds stuck on auto-pilot; the songs merely run through, rather than trying to do anything other than be filler. 10 Years Today
never seems to start properly, the title track can’t escape the fate of the other songs, with the samey riffs and bored vocal structure once again claiming another Bullet for my Valentine song, and Spit You Out
and Room 409
feel bland and uninspired, not escaping the main consensus of songs found on The Poison
In a nutshell, Bullet should feel proud - they’ve managed to create an album that will endear people to them, and also claimed enough attention to ensure that future albums will not slip under the radar. What’s next (or what should be next on their agenda)?: Trying to create an album that may live up to Matt Tuck’s prediction of this album, it should “blow your f***ing mind”. As a start, this is excusable; however, it shouldn't be a standard for them to aim for with their next album. Passable, but not outstanding.
A decent place to start, but much improvement is need to avoid obscurity
- 4 Words (To Choke Upon)
- Tears Don’t Fall
- All These Things I Hate (Revolve Around Me)
- Suffocating Under Words of Sorrow (What Can I Do)
- Cries in Vain