Review Summary: Bring Me My Valentine.
God, where do I start with Bullet For My Valentine？ I won’t pull the wool over your eyes, I’ve never really vibed off anything this Welsh quartet has released over the years. Sure, I checked out their head-turning debut, The Poison
, just to see what all the fuss was about, and it was a half-decent metal album with breakneck tempos and a few catchy hooks, but I never got the same itch many did with it. Of course, that doesn’t mean to say I haven’t observed their career, a morbid curiosity that has me finally concluding one thing: they got lucky the first time. I can’t think of many bands who have gone through the same efforts of chasing trends like these guys. After Fever
had ran its course, it became abundantly clear Matt and his cohorts had drained their creative resources; there’s only so many times you can repeat the same formula of thrash-y guitars, digestible screams and glittery vocal hooks before people get bored. This led to the band attempting to reinvent the wheel with Temper, Temper
, to which they crashed and burned in a horrific spectacle. Temper, Temper
is the alcoholic fu*k-up cousin they’re embarrassed to admit is related to them when they’re at parties, and it’s the same relative they’ve spent the last 5 years cleaning up after.
This clean up created the exceptionally safe Venom
, a big “sorry” to its fans that offered a step back to basics. It almost got away with hiding the damage caused before it too, had it not sounded so desperate. Maybe that’s a little cruel, it wasn’t a terrible attempt but I’ll give Temper, Temper
its credit over Venom
, at least that tried to do something different. But it’s this methodical planning that leads us to Gravity
and how it smells like the calculated branching out the band originally intended with their 2013 abomination. After its failure they made a fan-pleasing “sorry” album to clean up the mess before moving onto a fresh slate and doing a little research on what has worked for other bands in the past. Now, let’s think of a metal band with monumental success from the last 10 years; a band that has successfully reinvented themselves time after time in a far more organic way. Love or loath their stylistic shifts in music, Bring Me The Horizon have attained an unprecedented amount of success from the last decade, and it appears Bullet For My Valentine has been paying attention to it.
cautiously dabbles in That’s the Spirit
territories whilst hugging the band’s signature tropes like a bulletproof vest. This isn’t the same crass hiccup as before, you can tell they pulled out a few charts before writing a note of the album here. It’s the kind of balancing act that will appeal to some of its fanbase, keeping one eye on its older fans whilst the other locks firmly onto potential Wembley Stadium filling punters. This record is littered in angsty rock tunes, lathered in gloomy electronics akin to the aforementioned influence to the point where it boarders on plagiarism. “Under Again” contains the same kind of Floydian guitar leads you’d hear from Lee, while an even less subtle ripping off occurs with the exact same electronic architypes found on “Throne” – ala the sharp synth-line introduction which opens the song and the sub-bass which slithers around the build-up in the latter section of the track – being straight-up ripped out for use here. Continuing the trend of shameless copycat writing comes from “Gravity”, a vomit-inducing anthem that uses BMTH’s more recent amalgam of high-octane root-note driving and synth backup, as Matt lends other inspirations from a While She Sleeps styled backing chant and a horrible 30STM millennial “oh-wa-oh”. I could go on about Tuck’s piss poor Syke’s imitation for tracks like “The Very Last Time”; the spacey electronic ambience which blankets heavy guitar chugging on songs; or the fact the melody and riffing which brazenly holds “Don’t Need You” together is taken straight from Sempiternal
’s “Shadow Moses”, but I think you get the point.
With all that said however, Gravity
isn’t a complete cock-up. Minus Tuck’s godawful lyrics which remain consistent throughout, songs stand fairly competently as catchy and disposable alt-rock tunes; having the odd instrumental highlight on “Over It” with its pulling rhythm and “Letting You Go” for its infectious, melancholic chorus. The first half of the album has less of an identity crisis than the second, even though BMTH’s latter day works solidify themselves to Gravity
for the duration, there’s more effort being made to make the album sound like Bullet For My Valentine at the start of the LP. But even with these songs making the album a more sedated experience, it doesn’t stop it from being their most irritatingly derivative album to date. Obnoxiously stealing ideas from a band and having the gall to use them without even so much as a change up to make them your own is a cardinal sin and pure arrogance. If you’re looking for the seminal groundbreaking of their debut here you’re going to be sorely disappointed. This is a functional by the numbers metal album that lends ideas from a time period where they screwed up most.
FORMAT//EDITIONS: DIGITAL/̶/̶C̶D̶/̶/̶V̶I̶N̶Y̶L̶/̶/̶C̶D̶ ̶D̶E̶L̶U̶X̶E̶ ̶B̶O̶X̶S̶E̶T̶
SPECIAL EDITION: N/A
ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE: http://bfmv.com/gravity