Review Summary: The kind of fever you can live with for now until you fall in love with a better metal album.
I was listening to the song “Scream Aim Fire” by Bullet for My Valentine the other day and was reminded of the two types of consistency a band can demonstrate. There are bands like The Roots that provide new sounds and evolution with every new album, but keep the same level of brilliance and impressiveness. I would consider this the “good” type of consistency. Then there is the “bad” type, of which BFMV fits into almost perfectly. These types of bands dish out album after album of the same stuff every time showing no sign of wishing to maybe try something experimental or new. I’m not sure if they’re scared to try it, but it can’t hurt every so often. Besides, you can’t really do much worse than Lil’ Wayne incorporating rock into his latest album “Rebirth”, that was a train wreck that should be swept under the rug as soon as possible. Even though these bands have totally different styles of music and shouldn’t be compared alongside each other, the point is the same. The song “Scream Aim Fire” felt like it could’ve been another track on their first LP “The Poison”. An album opener should introduce something new the band wishes to convey, not feel like more of the same.
Having said that, the newest album from this British metalcore band gave me conflicted opinions. “Fever” feels like another BMFV album at first, with the fast-paced heavy guitar work, the misplaced screaming, and guitar solos. But after a few listens, I began to realize a key difference from their earlier stuff. It’s almost as if they injected their songs with more feel and substance. The songs seem more planned and organized instead of trying to fit as much screaming and mini-solos as possible. There are even new ideas in some of their songs as well, showing for the first time in a while some potential for them. This is why I would consider this their best album to date (sorry guys, but it is).
The first two songs on the album are the majority of the key highlights of the album. The first minute-and-a-half of “Your Betrayal” is stunning and fresh, even speaking in terms of metal. It reminds you of a military-like drum roll and it’s intense. It’s the reason I even gave this album a chance. The title-track “Fever” delivers lightning-fast guitar riffs with a more modern sound that is more crisp and digestible.
The other thing different about this album is that it is catchier, almost as if BFMV is trying to make radio playlists. Good examples of this are the two opening tracks along with “Alone” and “Pretty on The Outside”. Before, it was hard to tell when the verses had ended and when the chorus began, and they were pushing for a more atmospheric rock sound that people could simply bang their heads to (4 Words, Suffocating under Words of Sorrow). Their newest album could be described as “sing-along” which I know is a word that should cause hardcore fans’ hair to rise. But it isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it means each of their songs now has personality.
Other than that, it is, like I said, another BFMV album. It’s structured almost exactly like their other albums. It has that one song near the beginning that is supposed to be their softer, more touching song (ex. Hearts Burst into Fire). In this case, we get “A Place Where You Belong”, which is my favourite on the album, but also a sign that they are still repeating themselves. The other single “The Last Fight” is also a song that could easily fit into older albums. It has that problem of being incoherent and repetitive where the verses and choruses mesh together too much. It also sounds exhausting and goes on into a generic solo that Dragonforce would laugh at.
Along with similar structure, there is still the same stuff here that haters will still find reason to hate: the cheesiness and corny lyrics. I have always thought of BFMV as that band that cannot properly portray how angry they are. Bands like Chevelle, Brand New, and Alexisonfire all make BFMV sound like a bunch of teenagers whining about immature teenage problems (You fake condemnation/ You pray for salvation/ ‘Cause you heart is made of stone/ You can die and rot alone - Alone). They try here to sound more mature, but they mistake it for being perverted (Come on you naughty girl, you’re such a tease/ You look so ***ing good down on your knees – Fever). Lines like this just make me laugh instead of sympathize.
So despite what people have been saying, Bullet for My Valentine has actually tried to evolve with their newest offering, but they half-assed that goal a bit and still have a lot of the same stuff and same reasons for either loving or hating them. Compared to the other metal albums that have come out this year though (with the exception of “Option Paralysis” by the Dillinger Escape Plan and “Diamond Eyes” by Deftones), “Fever” actually is one of the stronger metal albums of 2010.
A Place Where You Belong
Pretty on the Outside