Review Summary: BFMV produces a predictable, repetitive and boring release with more wrongs then rights.
When I popped this into my CD player after purchase, I must say I was quite disappointed, but not surprised. Don’t get me wrong, I mildly enjoyed Bullet For My Valentine’s first album, The Poison
, and still listen to a few tracks from it to this day. However I can’t say I didn’t see this coming.
Bullet was a band lucky enough to tour with the infamous Iron Maiden after their debut album, much to the disapproval of Maiden fans everywhere. That must have hit home for them; what had they done wrong? They just wanted to be like their heroes! Instead of accepted themselves for what they were, and having confidence in the music they were making, they decided to change it up. It’s pretty obvious they were trying to “grow up” with this album and become a supposed “real metal” band. However, the result is somewhat like a child trying on their parents clothes. It doesn’t fit, or work, at all. Lots of unnecessary screaming in an attempt to be heavier just makes me take them less seriously. It seems forced, instead of fitting the song…as if somehow the song just wouldn’t be complete without a scream in there, which is not true.
The title track can almost summarize the whole album. The vocals have taken a major step downward, the guitars are decently good, but repetitive, bass pretty much non existent, and the lyrics are terrible. It almost seems like Bullet is trying to be Iron Maiden with the war lyrics, and they fail pretty miserably. A difference in this track is the pre-chorus and chorus, which I can honestly not listen to. Screams of “Over the top!”, followed by “Right now it’s killing time”, are bad enough, but the chorus is not only boring and forgettable, but contains pitiful lyrics as well. The light of most Bullet songs is almost always the chorus, but not here.
The reason I’m so critical of the lyrics is because I know they can do better. BFMV were never brilliant lyricists, but they did try, and the results were certainly deeper then anything on this record. The feelings were genuine, and thought out. What bothers me is when lyricists go into a topic knowing nothing about it. What does Matt honestly know about killing, or dying in a war? I highly doubt he read books about the topic or interviewed people as other bands sometimes do. The feelings are nonexistent, and it shows in the music. There’s a whole layer missing that was a massive part of Bullet’s music in the past.
Sadly, the disappointment doesn’t let up. A decent solo here and there cannot make up for so many bad tracks…like Eye of the Storm
, Waking The Demon
, and End of Days
. Again, simple lyrics not fitting for BFMV. One song, Deliver Us From Evil
, is apparently about when Matt got a vocal cyst, and everyone apparently told him he was sick.
A factor that truly surprised me about this album is the drumming. Michael Thomas is an extremely talented drummer, and on tracks like Hand of Blood he really shows he is creative and talented. On this album, his performance is disappointing. Every fill sounds the same, and it’s done far too often. A big problem is that he takes a good drum fill, and uses it about 20 times in a song, thereby killing it. It’s not like the drums are terrible and don’t fit the songs, they’re just a step down from what they were before.
Now for things getting better. Take It Out On Me
is a step in the right direction for Bullet, even featuring guest vocals from the Skindred singer. Matt’s singing is much improved here, and the guitar delivers with a catchy and effective riff. This is more the band I remember. The drums are also very good through this track, most noticeably in the beat in the bridge before the solo. My only complaint here is the buildup to the solo is massive, and the solo itself does not really deliver.
Forever And Always
comes close to being an effective track, but follows an old BFMV tradition by taking a good idea and dragging it out far too long. Overall the track is decent though, featuring some nice use of hand claps later in the song. Say Goodnight
features some truly beautiful guitar work, from a nice intro to a great solo. Matt’s mellow singing is very good here, and the lyrics seem to deal with a relationship with someone who is dying and the need to still care for a child. The song takes a major step downhill however, by ruining the atmosphere with screams towards the end that seem forced and out of place.
Now my favorite track on the album is Hearts Burst Into Fire
. I didn’t know what I was in for as the clean guitar intro entered my ears, but I must say, if there was a case of BFMV growing up on the album this is it. Combining heavy double bass with some upbeat melodic guitar has worked fantastically in their favor. Matt’s vocals and lyrics really shine here. This is more the Bullet I know, and more. A great guitar solo tops it all off for a very enjoyable track.
To sum it up, I was extremely disappointed with my purchase of this CD and find it a waste of my money. Bullet For My Valentine does some things right, but a lot more wrong here. In trying to become more of a metal band, they’ve abandoned almost all the qualities I enjoyed about them. Because of the few good tracks and qualities however, I’ll give it a 2/5
Hearts Burst Into Fire
Take It Out On Me