Review Summary: Sometimes good, often boring, but never great.
This album’s simple title might have disappointed some fans, but in a way “Fever” is an appropriate name for it. Think of the last time you had a fever. Your body temperature rose, and your skin felt hot to the touch. You most likely wanted this feeling to go away; you might even have wanted to feel cold. After a while, it seemed like you WERE getting colder, to the point where you were shivering. However, instead of feeling relieved, you were annoyed by the coldness. You wished that the hot feeling would return to wash away the cold feeling inside you. When it did, of course, you didn’t feel any better. This cycle continued until the fever went away.
That’s what it’s like to listen to this album. Listen to one song, and you will soon get tired of it. When you get to the next song, a catchy lead might grab your attention at first, but after a short while the song will become repetitive and possibly even uncomfortable. By no means is this a bad album, but the material presented here is simply not good enough to keep most listeners’ interest. A few catchy solos and choruses make the album listenable – even enjoyable on occasion – but for the most part the album feels quite flat and repetitive.
In 2010, Bullet for My Valentine is:
Matthew Tuck – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Jason James – bass guitar, vocals
Michael Paget – lead guitar, backing vocals
Michael Thomas – drums
At least the band has finally settled on a consistent sound this time around. The band’s first two albums, “The Poison” and “Scream Aim Fire,” are so different at times that one might wonder whether the same band actually released them. Neither of those albums was particularly bad; “The Poison” had some great melodic parts and breakdowns, while “Scream Aim Fire” contained a nice amount of aggression and catchiness. However, both of them felt like the work of a band that didn’t really know what it was doing. For a band that had already released a couple of extended plays, this was definitely a problem, and it seems to have been fixed throughout “Fever.” It’s just too bad that the sound they settled on was a very generic one.
None of the songs are particularly bad, but a lot of them can be boring. Album opener “Your Betrayal” drags on for 36 seconds before anything interesting happens – a rather catchy lead that sounds a little like something Killswitch Engage might do. Slower tracks like “A Place Where You Belong” and “Bittersweet Memories” have a few good ideas, but they never go anywhere. The album’s longest track, “Alone,” begins with a nice display of tapping, albeit one that was probably placed there just for the purpose of showing off. However, six minutes is simply too long for the song, and as a result it is often repetitive. In fact, most of these songs could probably have been cut down a bit; the shortest song, “Pleasure and Pain,” is just under four minutes, but even that one seems to go on and on.
The other major problem with this album is the lyrics. They’re not poetic (older In Flames), or emotional (Killswitch Engage), or thought-provoking (As I Lay Dying). In fact, “Fever” has a few songs, like the title track, with lyrics that are almost laughingly bad. However, most of the lyrics are just boring, average, and they cover the same material. In short, they match a lot of the music on the album. At least the singing has improved a lot from “Scream Aim Fire,” although vocalist Matthew Tuck still isn’t screaming very much. In a few tracks, most notably “Your Betrayal,” he attempts to whisper a couple of lines, possibly taking inspiration from Avenged Sevenfold’s “Critical Acclaim.” It doesn’t really work, but at least it adds a bit of variety to an album that desperately needs it.
In conclusion, the album showcases a lot of very good ideas, but unfortunately they aren’t nearly as effective as they could have been. Although you might come back to a few songs every now and then, this is definitely not an album with a lot of replay value. People who really enjoyed the band’s previous albums will like “Fever,” and people who didn’t will find nothing of interest here.
Recommended Tracks: “The Last Fight,” “Breaking Out, Breaking Down,” “Begging for Mercy”
FINAL VERDICT: 2.5/5