Bullet For My Valentine have, over the past few years, really made their style one which is undeniably fun and mostly enjoyable. However, the path has clearly been blazed with Fever
that the likable qualities of Bullet For My Valentine's sound are slowly starting to diminish. One-dimensional clean vocals reign supreme and really wallow in the realm of desperately accessible and laughably emotionless. Even during more sincere moments like “A Place Where You Belong”, they aren’t especially fluid nor are they effective at conveying any sense of loss, desperation, or mourning as they seem to strive for.
But I digress. Putting aside the clean vocals which dominate the soundscapes of Fever
, the instruments are equally confused in what exactly is supposed to be conveyed. The chugging metalcore riffing is dominant throughout the verses, oddly juxtaposed beside wailing guitar solos which carry no ebb and flow that any decent guitar solo would try for. The fact that the riffs don't try to break out of their usual patterns is proof that the songwriting is to blame here, not the musicianship. Indeed, Michael Paget is a talented guitarist; I’m not trying to deny that, it’s just that the songwriting here doesn’t need the full range of his knowledge. Some solos are good and are used to good effect (see “Pleasure And Pain” for an example of this) but for the most part the guitars simply repeat a heavy verse, melodic chorus pattern.
The main problem with Fever
is the fact that it is basically one idea spread incredibly thin over a period of fifty minutes. If you’ve heard one song, you’ve heard them all. This noticeable lack in creative variety is what ultimately leads to the failure of Fever
as an enjoyable album. The mask of some technical guitar work can, at times, take the listener's attention off the bland and repetitive riffs. There are almost no moments where the bass or drums steal the show and even the harsh vocals, an element once abundant in Bullet For My Valentine’s sound, is almost tossed completely aside in favor of catchy clean vocals. This may, perhaps, be an attempt to reach out to a wider audience who still consider screaming in music taboo. Whatever the case may be, the average instrumental performance on Fever
causes the album to grow stale quickly. No emotional bridges are introduced to showcase another side to the instrumentation, no building riffs which lead to memorable crescendos, not even any memorable guitar leads. Instead we are left with insipid, lurid song structures which deal in neither originality nor creativity.
“Begging For Mercy” does introduce an element of ferocity which was absent during the previous nine tracks, but sadly it is too little, too late. Fever
is an album which even fans of the band will find themselves hesitant to go back to and listen to in its entirety. Listeners will most likely, in the long run, stick to only a handful of the more interesting songs, casting the remaining tacks aside as filler. Fever
is a lifeless album which does nothing, goes nowhere, and doesn’t instill a single thought or emotion in the listener. It's eleven-tracks seem like they're sixteen or seventeen, going by so painfully slow that most listeners will find themselves exhausted by track seven. I really can’t find any reason to wholeheartedly or even faintly recommend Fever
, in fact if I was asked I would point toward the band’s debut album The Poison
for its eerily likable qualities, ones which have somehow disappeared in favor of something which is straightforward, simple, and soulless.