Review Summary: When this album came out, i read an interview where Matt Tuck said "we could have easily made "The Poison part Two". I somehow think that it would have been a better idea for Bullet For My Valentine to do just that
I'm not going to lie, Bullet for My Valentine was the first metal band I got into, and this was at the time of their first release, "The Poison". I didn't know much about metal back then, but even now I appreciate that it is a decent album. I eventually got sick of waiting for the follow-up, which got delayed for a while, and moved on to better bands. When the single "Scream Aim Fire" came out, I was impressed; the music was heavier, and much more technical. I assumed that the rest of the album would be similar, or better than this. Man, was I wrong
The title track is first, and opens the album in a pretty good way, pummeling drums, gang vocals, shreddy guitar solo, etc etc. by the third listen to this track, you realize how awful the lyrics are, and how repetitive the song itself is, and here lies the problem, repetition. I have read numerous reviews, and few of them address this issue. The problem isn't repetition between songs, in a Disturbed fashion, where the songs sound the same, but instead there is repetition within the songs. I can’t choose a worst example because all the songs suffer from this problem. One must look no further than the end of "Deliver us From Evil", a pathetic attempt at a ballad, where Matt Tuck sings "the tank is empty let it dry, I’m suffering" so many times it drives me up the wall. "End of Days" is another example, how many times do we have to hear the term "born to die" in that song!!??
Lyrically, the band has matured, but they still sound weak. "The Poison" didn't have especially good lyrics, but it suited the music. Now that the band has moved on, and are trying to address other topics, they just fail. "Waking The Demon" and "Disappear" are both songs about bullying, pretty immature if you ask me. "Hearts Burst into fire" is an exception, where Matt Tuck is singing about being far away, but it seems that once he found some good lyrics to write, he just repeats them so much they lose their impact. However, this song is listenable, despite being an attempt at a cheesy ballad. Even the best song (in my opinion), "Last To Know" suffers from horrendous passages of "hypocrisy from jealousy, hypocrisy from jealousy", once again repeated just to get his point across. As I said before, "Deliver us From Evil" is terrible, with gang vocals going "HERE, WE, GO!!” yeah, that's deep guys, touching.
I mentioned that the band has progressed in terms of each member’s instruments, well this is true, to a certain extent, but this isn't enough to save the album. Lead guitarist Michael Padge does play some brilliant solos throughout, especially on "End of Days" and "Eye of The Storm", the latter of which features a generic, but catchy riff that actually saves this song from being a total mess. "Waking The Demon" is probably the heaviest song the band has ever written, with a once again, generic, predictable riff and song structure. The Bass, as usual, is pretty non-existent, and from their live performances, you can tell that if he wasn't the backup vocalist, he would be totally pointless, and as it is, he simply follows the drums, which have generally improved.
It is impossible to review this album without making a comparison to "The Poison", problem is, and Bullet for My Valentine has also used this as a base. It is easy to draw a comparison between every song on this album to a previous track. For example, "Deliver us From Evil" (yes I know I whine about this song quite a bit, it’s just so bad) is an attempt to re-create "Tears Don't Fall", it even starts on the same chord! The aggressive start of the title track is trying to be "Her Voice Resides" in the way they try to begin the album in heavy way, and who can blame them, it works.
Now, another unavoidable aspect of this review is Matt Tuck's voice. For those who aren't fans, the singer suffered severe vocal problems, and only recently recovered before recording this album. I hate to say it, but it shows. His vocals are bland, and are layered so much that it sounds as if there are at least five different singers, just listen to the verse of "Say Goodnight". Sure, it doesn't sound too bad on the album, but I’ve seen some of the songs live, and it just sounds totally empty and weak.
So, is it worth buying? No. if you do buy it, you will soon become aware of how weak and uninspired this album is, despite enjoying the first listen or so. There are standout tracks, such as "Last to Know" and "Hearts Burst into Fire", but their potential is ruined by their blandness and poor lyrics. You would have thought that after a good two years of touring, Bullet for My Valentine could have produced an album that didn't sound as pathetic as this. They may have moved out of their emo/metalcore spot, but it also happens to be their comfort zone, and it shows on this album.