Updated: Jul 1
Unless you have been hiding under a Welsh sized rock for the past decade, you know who Bullet For My Valentine are. The Welsh metal outfit were, for a short period, declared the future of metal. However, with the release of one album, they fucked up, BIG TIME.
Just two years after their inception, Bullet For My Valentine were supporting Metallica. They had legions of fans across the globe and thousands of young metal heads-to-be were sinking into their self loathing and blaring Tears Don't Fall at max volume into their angsty teenage friends faces. Bullet then made the mistake of releasing an album which was widely criticised and universally panned which hit the band HARD. Quickly after band members left and for a brief time, it looked like the band wouldn't make it.
The next couple of years saw bullet desperately return to their roots to bring back some of their alienated fans by returning to their heavier style of music.
6) Temper Temper
Obviously. Temper Temper... where do we start. The fuck up album. The album that alienated a large portion of their fan base and almost killed the band. Temper Temper takes everything that Bullet For My Valentine were famous for, distilled it down and removed almost all of the fun. Temper Temper has at least three songs dedicated to Matt Tuck telling us over and over again how "we wouldn't like him when he's angry". Tuck takes a lot of stick for his lyrics, it's nothing new and it's sometimes deserved, but fucking hell Temper Temper takes it to a new level. Some of the songs are standouts such as 'Breaking Point' and 'Dirty Little Secret' but apart from that the entire album is just a little too slow paced and generic to make it interesting. The less said about this album the better. The fact that Bullet haven't played a single song from Temper Temper live since 2015 says all you need to know about the album...
Speaking about Gravity to HMV in 2018 Tuck stated that "We’ve reinvented Bullet For My Valentine and we’re taking it into the future". The band made their intentions clear from the start, they wanted to be festival headlines. On Gravity the band introduced a lot more electronic influences, disregarded guitar solos and relied almost entirely on clean vocals. In other words they made their play at melodic hard rock built for radio. This the the Bullet For My Valentine you could play your mum without it being to 'heavy'. Although not a complete failure, the switch in style was a little too big compared to their previous effort and overall felt a little lightweight.
4) Scream Aim Fire
By the time of Scream Aim Fire's 2008 release Bullet were a powerhouse. The Poison had propelled them to metal stardom and even a slot supporting Metallica in their 2007 tour. Scream Aim Fire is in no way a bad album. There are some amazing songs on here such as 'Disappear', 'Deliver Us From Evil' and of course the crowd favourite face-melter that is 'Waking The Demon' to name a few.
However, there are a few songs which i feel play it a little too safe. For a band who were aiming as high as Bullet For My Valentine this just wasn't the balls to the wall powerhouse of an album the fans wanted. On the production side the album is outstanding and feels much crunchier and heavier than The Poison ever did. The drums kick a little harder, the guitar feels a little thicker and lyrically Scream Aim Fire is an improvement. A few of the songs let the album down in general, I'm looking at you 'Say Goodnight', but overall a great album that deserves a listen.
On the path towards Fever, Tuck told Rock Sound that Bullet are "a hard rock band with metal influences, and I've said that from day one." Fever is probably the closest Bullet ever came to making this statement true. The breakneck shredding of The Poison is toned down slightly and replaced with a much more well rounded sound. Don't get me wrong there are some absolute belters on Fever such as 'Dignity', 'Pretty On The Outside' and 'Pleasure & Pain'. All of which showcase how Bullet have evolved their signature sound from their previous works, but can still hit as hard as ever. Then there is 'Alone'. The near 6 minute orchestra entwined epic which showcases Bullet at their glittering metal best. 'Alone' is up there with the best Bullet songs released to date and showcases that when Bullet put their mind to it, they can rival any of the metal greats.
Venom had an impossible job. It had to bring back the fans that Temper Temper had so quickly driven away. Temper Temper placed a massive black mark against Bullet's name, a black mark which they are still recovering from all these years later, but Venom does a fucking good job of erasing the damage. Tuck screams into the ears of anyone willing to listens and reminds us why we fell in love Bullet all those years ago. Venom is the heaviest album Bullet have released since their debut just over a decade ago. Hell even the name of the album Venom is an homage back the Poison to try and gives us an idea into how important and defining the band were viewing this album.
Songs such as 'No Way Out' and 'Army Of Noise' hit just as heavy now as any song from The Poison did back then, and then some. Venom was the album that SHOULD have followed Fever. There a few missteps in the album, with the most noticeable being the title track, but on the most part Venom is a beast of an album that deserved way more recognition that it received. Temper Temper may have slowed the band down, but Venom picks the band up, dusts them down and then fires them into the future at the speed of light. Another album like this and Bullet could finally repair the damage of their fourth release.
1) The Poison
The undisputed KING. The album that started it all and created a generation of metal heads. There is a reason Bullet spent the last few months of 2016 playing The Poison in full all throughout the UK, it is a FUCKING masterpiece. Almost every song shows the band at their metalcore best. The entire album is a shot of welsh powered adrenaline straight into your fucking veins that NEEDS to be heard.
From the slow steady intro which transforms into the 100mph screams of 'Her Voice Resides' all the way to 'The End', every minute is pure gold. Hell even the ballads on 'The Poison' were brilliant. 'All These Things I Hate (Revolve around Me)' was a classic and even gathered major radio airplay around the globe. Bullet may never re-capture the magic of The Poison and the accolades that came with it, but Venom was a step in the right direction. After a couple of years of hurt Bullet fans have the right to be optimistic again. Now lets all go listen to The Poison in it's entirety and remember how fucking amazing Bullet For My Valentine can be at their best.