Review Summary: Your tears don't fall, they crash around me.
As a melodic metal album from an era riddled with monotonous pop-punk bore-fests such as “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out” and “From Under the Cork Tree,” The Poison presents itself as the first, and ultimately their best when looking back at it 12 years post-release, significant look into Bullet for My Valentine’s career, aside from the Hand of Blood EP, which was released two months earlier. As far as I can tell, this record is still Bullet’s unrivaled magnum opus, and that isn’t for a lack of trying.
The record doesn’t immediately aurally assault you, instead preferring to wait a few minutes and transition to the piercing scream that starts off “Her Voice Resides,” and perhaps that’s for the better. The balance between the emotionally fiery delivery of every line and the mixture between technical and melodic instrumentation is what drives this album. Every song has its own meaning, even if the themes stay within a few specific parameters. Whether it’s the murderous, revenge seeking side, as shown by “Room 409” or “The Poison,” the suicidal and depressed side, as shown by “Her Voice Resides,” the brutally honest “4 Words (To Choke Upon)” or the introspective “Tears Don’t Fall,” Bullet prove they can be somewhat varied and still come out with an emotionally engaging, melodic, and somewhat technical album that flows well from beginning to end.
It’s not an immensely innovative record, so it may be a bold move to rate it as high as I do. Regardless, the amount of energy put into the entire record, and the fact that this record helped me cope with my struggles as much as other records, such as This War Is Ours by Escape the Fate, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge by My Chemical Romance, and Sempiternal by Bring Me the Horizon, does help its case a lot. The guitar-work isn’t technical just for the sake of it, but the technicality serves as a testament to the skill level of the Welsh quartet. But the soaring melodies and relatable lyrics - for example, “What can I do to make you see"/You're guilty/What can I do to make you feel"/You're wanted/What can I do to make you see"/You're guilty/I'm suffocating under words of sorrow” - are what make The Poison what it is. It’s no wonder why I’ve looped this album well over a hundred times over the years, still listen to it regularly to this day, and consider it one of my favorite Metalcore albums of all time.
The negatives: the bass is either really weak, or too low in the mix. It’s nowhere near And Justice bad in that department, but the bass guitar could have used a bit more “oomph.”
Top 5 Tracks from the album:
Her Voice Resides
Tears Don’t Fall
Hit the Floor