|Bullet For My Valentine – ‘Fever’ (Columbia)|
|Written by David Whistance|
|Monday, 26 April 2010 06:00|
Bullet For My Valentine are a band that I have been championing for well over a decade. Okay during that time they haven't always been at the worldwide phenomenon standing that they have today, but even way back when they were simply known as Jeff Killed John there has always something special about the vibe these guys create together.
Spending many a night during the tail end of the Nineties trailing the band around the UK toilet circuit, because I could sense that the band had the (and it pains me to coin the phrase) 'X Factor', even back then the band were producing some pretty fine material. For me it was never a question of 'if' they would become successful, it was always more 'when'.
I remember picking up the latest edition of Metal Hammer just prior to the band's debut performance on one of the smaller stages at Download 2004 and seeing a picture of guitarist Padge staring back at me, making me feel almost like a proud parent as I realised the boys had finally made it. The awesome 'Poison' album soon followed, an album featuring twelve blistering rock anthems proving that in vocalist Matt Tuck they had in their ranks a songwriter who cannot fail to write a catchy tune whilst remaining true to the cause. Then when everyone thought they could do no wrong, Matt suffered serious vocal problems which scuppered the follow up album 'Scream, Aim, Fire', an album that the band themselves weren't entirely happy with (although I have to confess to liking it), even though it became a global success.
So that brings us to 2010 and the band's third full release 'Fever' which whereas with 'Scream, Aim, Fire' the band focussed on a more heavy metal approach, trying to lose their wrongly labelled emo tag, this album finds the band comfortably fitting into their skins and delivering their own sound. As Matt himself has stated "this is less of a heavy metal album, and more of a hard rock album with metal influences", and never has a line been more fitting, as 'Fever' is the album the band have been waiting all their lives to make, the album that will be putting the Bullet For My Valentine name on everybody's lips.
Opening with the second single off the album 'Your Betrayal', opening with the hushed vocal style of Matt Tuck before developing into an infectious rock number, that quickly leads into the album's title track, never has a song title been more apt, as this sure fire hit is as contagious as a ten quid crack whore, as it buries itself into your consciousness stubbornly refusing to leave. Incidentally I first heard this number driving down the M4 at the beginning of last week and was singing along to it the following day. You must be living under a rock if you haven't witnessed the lead single off the album 'The Last Fight' as it is currently on heavy rotation on both Radio 1 and Scuzz with a blistering video, and is currently destroying every thing else in its path. Even though the band have stated that there are no ballads on the album, there are two slower mid tempo numbers for all the lighter (or should that now be mobile phone) waving aficionados out there in the form of 'A Place Where You Belong' and 'Bittersweet Memories.'
Anyone who attended last summer's Sonisphere festival would have witnessed the debut outing of 'Pleasure And Pain' whish single handily scared away those dreaded rain clouds overhead. 'Alone' is where the band enter a completely new territory as they construct a number of grandiose proportions complete with orchestra arrangement, whilst displaying some mighty fine fret work from Padge, proving him to one of the greatest guitarists of his generation.
Even though 'Fever' may not be strictly a Heavy Metal album you cannot ignore the duel attack of 'Dignity' and one of my personal favourites from the album 'Begging For Mercy' featuring some outstanding vocals from bassist Jay as he screams like his life depends on it.
Whether or not 'Pretty On The Outside' is written about a particular person in Matt's life or not I cannot answer (but if I was betting man, I'd take a punt that it was) as it describes the shallowness of one particular superficial being, and we can all share in his pain as everybody has known somebody like that in their lives, haven't we?
When the band decided not to utilise the studio mastery of respected producer Colin Richardson for 'Fever', instead opting for Don Gilmore more famous for producing such 'teen orientated' bands such as Linkin Park and Good Charlotte, there were a few disapproving looks at ÜRHQ I can tell you. Are these guys Heavy Metal? Are they not Heavy Metal?
Who really gives a fuck, when any band makes music this good who really cares about fucking labels?
'Fever' takes everything you loved about 'The Poison' adds the finer moments from 'Scream, Aim, Fire' and rolls them up in one sure fire hit of an album, that can only see their global domination extend to new levels.
Make a space in the 'Big League' as Bullet For My Valentine are on their way!