Album review: Bullet For My Valentine – Bullet For My Valentine

Brit metal veterans Bullet For My Valentine scream back to action on their heaviest album ever…

Album review: Bullet For My Valentine – Bullet For My Valentine
Paul Travers

Aim! Fire! Scream! After a period of radio static and snippets of voices, the first thing you hear as Parasite blows open the self-titled seventh Bullet For My Valentine album is Matt Tuck screaming ‘You fucking parasite!’ with all the venom of a recently cuckolded taipan snake. ‘I, I hate you/ I, I hope you choke,’ he continues, as the riffs gnash and froth with equal bile and the solo squeals like something unearthed from thrash metal’s Bay Area heyday. And, for anyone who’s been fervently wishing for Bullet to deliver more words to really choke upon at last, this album is an absolute gift. No sooner has that song crashed to a halt than the serrated Knives slashes in and Matt howls, ‘Let the madness begin.’ You can picture the pit beginning to boil and it’s an absolutely stunning one-two opening to an album that rarely lets the intensity drop.

2018’s Gravity was hardly a flop - indeed, it saw the band play their biggest ever shows and hit more than a billion catalogue streams in the U.S. alone - but it still managed to divide the opinion of hardcore fans with its shiny stylistic shifts and complete lack of guitar solos. This new album doesn’t just look back to Bullet’s more aggressive earlier material, it actually goes considerably further in parts. It is, perhaps, stylistically closer to the thrash-fuelled momentum of Scream Aim Fire than the jagged metalcore of The Poison, but it captures the youthful fire and aggression of both without the mawkish sixth-form poetry and still-developing songwriting that occasionally marred those first two albums. The end result is the consistently heaviest thing the Welsh outfit has ever put out, but imbued with all the confidence and skills they’ve honed over the intervening decade and a half.

So My Reverie slows things down a breath while still retaining a low-tuned heft. No Happy Ever After races back up the gears with a relentless thrashing riff and some totally monstrous grooves, while Can’t Escape The Waves rides a leviathan of a bass riff through building dynamics that ebb and flow through seething waters. Bastards arrives on a huge circular rhythm and builds into a huge sing-along hard rock anthem with a beating metal heart, before Rainbow Veins introduces splashes of colour via swirling instrumentation and melody. Taken as a whole, the album is far from one-dimensional in its structure and compositions but the defining element remains that of raging aggression and heaviness.

Some of the riffs on here are things of true monstrous beauty. Check out the sheer stomping chunkiness that propels Shatter and Paralysed towards the finish line and then try questioning this band’s metal credentials. It’s a team effort though, with the pummelling rhythms more than playing their parts and Matt Tuck never sounding better. This is Bullet firing on all cylinders and it sounds absolutely immense.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Trivium, Bury Tomorrow, Metallica

Bullet For My Valentine is released on November 5 via Spinefarm / Search & Destroy.

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