Bullet For My Valentine – Venom
Following a middling critical response to previous release ‘Temper Temper’, UK metal titans Bullet For My Valentine were soon to return to the writing process with a ploy to reinvigorate their sound. Speaking to Team RockRadio earlier this year, vocalist Matt Tuck proclaimed the album as a milestone in their career, calling it “the best thing we have ever done”. With this being said, expectations we’re understandably high for the group to deliver a release recreating the magic of their timeless classic ‘The Posion’.
Riding straight off the back of the aforementioned ‘Temper Temper’, the group hit the studio in December of 2013. Pairing with legendary metal producer Colin Richardson (Machine Head, Trivium, Cradle of Faith) they prepared to record what was said to be their heaviest release to date.
Opener ‘V’ is soon to descend into chaos, cascading into a wall of screeching feedback and bleak cries. The record’s sinister and abrasive tone is exposed instantly, signalling a new chapter for the four-piece. It’s successor ‘No Way Out’ keeps up the momentum, providing a snapshot of the band at their most aggressive. The track is carried by an onslaught of thundering riffs and rapid-fire percussion, exhibiting the group’s incredible technical skills. Front man Matt Tuck said: “To write this track I had to put myself into a very dark place, a place I hadn’t been to for a while mentally”.
One of the record’s more disappointing aspects, is that it’s finest moments – ‘Army Of Noise’, ‘You Want A Battle and ‘No Way Out’ – were premiered before it’s launch. Although this may be a typical approach, it leaves very little in the way of surprise. Cuts ‘Worthless’ and ‘Broken’, though technically impressive, lack bite and struggle to sustain an impressionable hold on the listener.
Admittedly, fifth release ‘Venom’ falls short of its initial hype. The promise of a heavier thrash metal sound may appear enticing at first, but it is soon to falter, as the record at times feels shallow and one-dimensional. Where ‘Venom’ succeeds, however, is in presenting a promising new direction for a group that has continued to innovate metal over the last 17 years.