Company: Sony Release: 2008 Genre: NWOAHM Reviewer: EC
It really is genre-spanding and awe inspiring at the same time
The UK's Bullet For My Valentine proved on their debut, "The Poison", that they very well could be the new Metallica. The band took the world by storm in 2005, moving over 400,000 albums worldwide. The young group of superstars were hailed as the new ICON by zines like Revolver, Kerrang, and Metal Hammer as well as hitting the covers for just about every teen-bopper magazine on the globe. They were packaged with Metallica, Guns N Roses, and Rob Zombie on numerous worldwide tours and won numerous music awards in various countries. In January of 2008, the band released their sophomore effort "Scream Aim Fire" for new label Sony Music.
The events after "The Poison" was released easily goes down as your normal "rock superstar" syndrome. The band first ran into some snags in 2006 while on tour with Rob Zombie. The band was kicked off of the tour and cited as displaying immature behavior on the road. In 2007 it looked like the band was on the brink of disaster as singer Matt Tuck developed a voice problem that complicated his "rough" vocal style. In late 2007 the band finally made it back on track and recorded "Scream Aim Fire" with famed producer Colin Richardson (Machine Head).
This CD is much different than the first album mainly due to Tuck's clean singing being very different than his voice on the debut. This isn't a bad thing at all, it just sounds different than the first album's performance. In regards to the music this one is a scorcher. The band create lightning quick gallops and a phenomenal display of leads and melody. The result is a sound very rich with melodic passages while still obliterating the listener with thrash devastation.
Opener "Scream Aim Fire" was the album's first single and my first taste of the new stuff. This one really has a European flavor to it, with a core sound that is really just power thrash. This song is really good but I thought the chorus was rather elementary. The last part of the track with the groove stomps and rough vocals are 100% heavy metal tetosterone and that appealed to me. Next is the album's weakest moment and another pre-release teaser, "Eye Of The Storm". This one is rather generic with a basic thrash metal approach and silly chorus. "Hearts Burst Into Fire" really slows things down and hits the melodic stride perfectly. This is slightly atmospheric and certainly radio friendly. Tuck sounds like a champ here and the twin guitar melody is really done well. A fire-storm follows with "Waking The Demon", an album favorite that definitely proves the band were sincere in thanking Canada's Annihilator for influence. This one is absolutely brutal and throws in some rough vocals and "beat-downs" with enough melodic ear candy to keep me in check. This was made into a really cool video for the MTV audience as well. "Disappear" gallops into "Deliver Us From Evil", a slow tempo ballad that is penned about Tuck's near career ending vocal problems. Excellent leads throughout both of these mid-album tracks.
The second half of the record booms with "Take It Out On Me", a song that is in the same style as "Wake The Demon" with its modern thrash approach and "melodic death" twin fury. "Say Goodnight" is a weaker ballad and filler for me. "End Of Days" and "The Last To Know" are slighly emo friendly and proves that the band, while metal true and true, still showcase a modern sensibility and a direct connection to today's pop youth. Depending on which version of the CD you have the album ends on either "No Easy Way Out" (the pop song from "Rocky IV") or "Ashes Of The Innocent". "No Easy Way Out" is probably my favorite track of the entire album and really has an addictive hook and amazing songwriting. "Ashes Of The Innocent" is the fastest song the band has performed and easily could capture In Flames circa 1995. The deluxe US version also carries a few generic cuts that also appear on the "Road To Nowhere" EP released in December of 2008.
Again, Bullet For My Valentine strikes gold and finishes the year with the best album award from this metal scribe. The band is honestly the best young talent in the world and has the album and ticket sales to prove it. The hardest of metal fans along with teeny boppers and teeny bopper parents can dig this type of music. It really is genre-spanding and awe inspiring at the same time. Bullet For My Valentine are that damn good. I've got my $10 reserved for album number three.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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