Review Summary: Bullet for my Valentine creates an album that will alienate longtime fans and bring in very few new ones. The album does have some highlights, but overall, mediocrity is all they achieve.
Great lyrics. Fantastic emotion. Gorgeous orchestration. These are all the things that Bullet For My Valentine has NEVER had. If you go into Fever, the new album by this Welsh quartet, and expect any of these things, then you have never heard an album by this band before. There definitely are a few standard contents that many have come to enjoy from a BFMV record, yet with the release of their previous album Scream Aim Fire a lot of those things were dropped. Now, with Fever, even more have been lost and we are left with a shell of what was once a very entertaining band.
First of all, don’t by any means think they have lost their ability to play their instruments. Paget, the lead guitarist, can still hold his own among the top guitarists in mainstream metal. Unfortunately, his riffs are often the only things that keep the songs afloat. That’s not to say that the rest of them are mediocre musicians, it’s just that they don’t do anything to stand out. In songs like "Fever", the only part of the song that is the least bit interesting is the guitar. This really isn’t a step too far from the norm, but there is one thing noticeably missing from most of the album’s songs, that made BFMV at least a decent band.
Matt Tuck, while his clean vocals have been vastly improved, all but abandons his scream. Not only that, but the other members of the band have grown much more silent as well when it comes to their chipping in with a wail. This is what made BFMV fun. It wasn’t music to sit back and contemplate the deeper meanings of; it was music to bob your head to and workout to (and possibly try to pump yourself up to before a swimming race to). Yet, with the loss of this facet of their music, they become completely boring. They lose any edge they had, and fall down into a realm of complete mediocrity. In songs like "A Place Where You Belong" and "Bittersweet Memories", BFMV tries to slow it down, and utterly fail to produce anything worthwhile. Not only can Tuck not carry these songs on just his vocals, but the with the slowdown of the music, it further proves that they can’t seem to fit any emotion at all into their music anymore.
The entire first part of the album, minus "The Last Fight", which upon first listen disappointed but has a catchy enough chorus to make it a highlight of the album, completely falls flat. Song after song opens with a promising guitar riff, and then follows with a boring verse delivery and a chorus that tries to be epic and soaring, yet is just lackluster and cheesy.
I would be lying if I didn’t say that there were in fact parts of this album that I enjoyed. Three songs caught my attention, yet they were all back-to-back at the end of the album. "Dignity" hearkens back to The Poison’s "Tear’s Don’t Fall" in it’s screaming of the pre-chorus, which seems to give BFMV some of their edge back. Then, with the promising "Begging for Mercy", the screaming comes back full-fledged, and allows at least for a momentary flashback into what BFMV used to be. Even Tuck’s cleans in the chorus are good, making the song the album’s second best. Clearly the album winner is at the tail end, with the scream-laced "Pretty on the Outside." This song has most likely the best lyrics BFMV have ever written (which really couldn’t have been that hard to do) and also has by far the best hook of the album. The passion returns, if only for a brief moment, and shows that possibly not all hope is lost on this band.
Overall, Fever is a disappointment to any fan of Bullet for my Valentine, or melodic metalcore for that matter. Almost all that made this band a fun and enjoyable listen is gone, left with only a small glimmer of hope at the end of the record. Maybe they are satisfied with producing average records for the rest of their music making days. However, a lot of their fans won’t be happy about it.
Begging for Mercy
Pretty on the Outside