I still don’t understand exactly what peoples problem with Temper Temper was, and you can read exactly what I thought about that album by clicking here. It didn’t have that absolute standout track like Bullet For My Valentine‘s previous three albums, but it showed what sounded like a very comfortable transition from the done to death metalcore sound into a more standard heavy metal sound, yet critics didn’t take to it – however the fellow fans I know have nothing bad to say about it. BFMV clearly heard these critics words and seem to have taken them to heart because they’ve recently returned with Venom, another metalcore album.
I used to enjoy the genre, and still enjoy such albums as the first three Bullet For My Valentine albums, but the reality is that no band can sound original anymore as long as they take that route, which is why I have a problem with this. Regardless, Venom is what Bullet For My Valentine have decided their next step would sound like, and I hope those who wanted this Bullet For My Valentine back are satisfied.
Bullet For My Valentine make sure this direction isn’t lost, starting off Venom‘s opening track No Way Out with nothing but screaming, until its chorus which, in typical metalcore fashion, is sung in Matt Tuck’s clean voice. BFMV relentlessly start Venom with two strait louder than hell songs, with Army of Noise being even more ruthless than No Way Out, adopting some of the thrash metal influences I heard the band experiment with on Temper Temper.
Worthless provides a little perspective on Bullet For My Valentine, being a slower pace but still as heavy as what we’ve heard so far, it shows BFMV are trying not to be one dimensional with Venom, which is good because had You Want A Battle (Here’s A War) followed Army of Noise, I’d be getting a little tired of them making their metalcore point. But instead the song is very well placed after Worthless, leaving its mix of ground rumbling drums and mix of melodic and harsh vocals easier to appreciate. Then to keep the point across, they add one more fast song in Broken, which took me a few listens to warm up to but ultimately I can appreciate it as a solid addition to BFMV’s repertoire.
I think Bullet For My Valentine feel they’ve made their point by this point on Vemon which is probably why they put the album’s title track here, just past halfway through. The song Venom takes a slow melodic change that ultimately shows how much better BFMV are getting at writing a strong melodic track such as this. It draws little comparison to past songs, since songs like Tears Don’t Fall and Hearts Burst Into Fire, to name a couple of their past “ballads,” always had a metacore heart to them, while Venom shows the band taking strides in their maturation into a heavy metal band.
There are a few songs that concentrate more on clean vocals that follow the title track on Venom. Skin is just the kind of intense metal song that Bullet For My Valentine brought on Temper Temper. Hell or Highwater takes a slower resounding approach, similar to that of Worthless, just without the screaming. Ultimately Bullet For My Valentine needed to add a couple of other metalcore or close to metalcore tracks on Venom. The Harder The Heart (The Harder It Breaks) isn’t traditionally a metalcore song, but it does feature a lot of screaming, and of course closing track Pariah has its share of screaming in it too, though not as much as others on the album. Frankly I feel Pariah is the weakest of tracks on the album, and the only one that remains to grow on me.
So really I find Venom to be a really good album, but I feel it could have been great just Bullet For My Valentine were afraid to do what they wanted. Critics wanted Temper Temper to be another metalcore album, not realizing that a band can only scream so much until it all sounds the same, which is what curses much of Venom, making it less than it could have been. However, the moments where Bullet For My Valentine show signs of life, they take that inch and they take it for miles with songs like Skin and (my personal favourite track) Venom, and even some relentlessly heavy tracks like Army of Noise and The Harder The Heart (The Harder It Breaks). It doesn’t have that song that you can sing along with like Tears Don’t Fall or Fever, but I feel Bullet For My Valentine still show signs that they still have some great days ahead of them.
“Army of Noise” – I liken this as the highlight because it shows Bullet For My Valentine are still one of today’s elite metal bands, and in this song specifically they didn’t have to rely on guttural screaming to show that.
8 (Out of 10)
|2.||“No Way Out”||3:53|
|3.||“Army of Noise”||4:18|
|5.||“You Want a Battle? (Here’s a War)”||4:14|
|8.||“The Harder the Heart (The Harder It Breaks)”||4:00|
|10.||“Hell or High Water”||4:36|