Review Summary: This is slick, well-produced, mainstream metal. If you're into that style of music then feel free to pick this up.
George Carlin once did a routine about phrases that we use every day that don’t actually make any sense. One in particular – Tell us in your own words – stands out because it could be applied to music too. After introducing the phrase, George Carlin proceeds to ask the audience if they have their own words, and then answers his own question by stating that he’s using the same ones as everyone else. The connection to music is simply that no matter how “innovative” a band is, they’re still just using the same ideas as everyone else. However, even by that standard Bullet For My Valentine are not what you’d call an innovative band. They’re definitely just using the same ideas as everyone else without making much of an effort to change them. If that’s the case, a better question to ask is whether or not they’re using these ideas in a way that is entertaining – the whole point of listening to music for most people.
Considering the demographic that this band appeals to the answer is yes. The riffs are heavy enough to retain fans of their debut, but catchy enough to keep those that prefer the sophomore album. The same general idea could also be applied to the vocals. The clean singing that dominates a majority of the album is strong and catchy and they utilize the screams just enough to accentuate the appropriate sections without overdoing it. In fact, compared to their previous two albums, they’ve pretty much improved on every aspect of their formula (especially the vocals). The songwriting has definitely improved to the point that each song is strong and memorable (if a bit similar), and the band’s metal-lite approach to the riffs is finally moving away from blatant hero-worship and towards something that they could almost call their own. As far as the lyrics go, they’re still pretty generic and cheesy but that didn’t seem to affect fans of the last few Metallica albums (a fan base that could probably appreciate this album).
Nobody, including the band themselves, ever tried to say that this was supposed to be innovative or original. It’s only supposed to be a great alternative for those sick of Trivium
or for those looking for something with a bit more balls than Senses Fail
. In the end, that’s exactly what this album is and it fills that niche very well. So, this might sound terrible to those that were never into this style of slick mainstream metal, but this was never meant for them. It also wasn’t meant for those that can’t be bothered to turn on a radio or that only listen to bands that count multiple genres among their influences. This is a mainstream metal band that probably puts just as much emphasis into their marketing as they do their music, but, like it or not, they’ve also released their best album so far and it’s actually pretty entertaining.