Review Summary: Regression where none was believed possible
Bullet for my Valentine’s preceding album, Fever
, was a step down from the album that preceded it, Scream Aim Fire
, which in turn was a step down from their debut, The Poison
. Whilst Bullet have never been a world-class band, they have elements of their sound that made them fun to listen to – catchy riffs, infectious vocals and a general it’s-trashy-but-still-a-good-time-so-who-cares feel. These elements were deployed rather well on The Poison
, but gradually became diluted by a shift of emphasis onto Matt Tuck’s voice and lyrics, which are both terrible and well-enunciated, ever more lazy songwriting that was worsened by the increased inclusion of power ballads, which turned out as generic and completely uninspiring. Fever
seemed to be the end product: an insipid album that never failed to induce a cringe. The major question that I was left with was whether the band could devolve any further, and Temper Temper
offers a mixed answer to that.
On one hand Bullet for my Valentine have written some of their worst songs to date for this album; the title track fails to convey any of its intended energy and rage thanks to boring musicianship and dreadful lyrics, Riot
stands out as the worst song that I have heard in the last two years and P.O.W.
is a complete flop of a powerballad, which transitions between soft and heavy in the same way that a fish moves from water to land. Every single song on the album is held back from achieving its full potential due to several reasons, the main ones being awkwardly contrasting clean moments, the vocals being mixed far too high and thereby killing any anthemic value that the album might have had through atrocious lyrics (for example, “Your invitation, it doesn’t exist
So tell me why you keep crashing the party”).
On the other hand, it would be slightly unfair to say that they have devolved since Fever
, since it’s clear that the band are making an effort to take their clean, softer side further. This might have had potential, but it is executed so catastrophically badly that it drags the album down even further. The best example of this is Dirty Little Secret
, which has a heavy opening section that is relatively solid and builds up a great amount of momentum, only to lose it all when the verse comes in; as a sum of its parts the song is acceptable, but since none of those parts fit together it fails miserably. This problem plagues the album throughout its course, but most notably in Dirty Little Secret
, Dead to the World
. Therefore, although Temper Temper
is more than a clone of Fever
, the new features drag it down further.
It is somewhat fitting that the album’s best moment is a tribute to their past; Tears Don’t Fall (Part 2)
is the only song here that I wouldn’t describe as bad; it isn’t amazing, but has a tad more emotion than the other songs and infects nostalgia on anyone familiar with Bullet’s early albums. However, the fact that they have to rely on a reinterpretation of old ideas to a decent song pretty much says it all; Bullet for my Valentine’s sound seems to be at the end of its road They have proved that they cannot expand it any further with positive results and have settled into a spot that seems very comfortable for them and generally mediocre to most of their listeners. It might have worked if it didn’t sound as though the band took themselves very seriously while writing this, but as they give the impression that they are intent on making good, heavy music and are satisfied with their results, only to contradict this statement with music so average and lyrics so uninspired. As a result of this, the quality of this album is unforgivably bad.