OK, here’s the deal. I am so fucking sick and tired of everyone trashing Temper Temper, the last outing from BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE. Perhaps these people need their ears cleaned? I for one loved every minute of it, especially “Riot” a tune I still crank often, and “Dirty Little Secret” which I was lucky enough to see them do live as a duet with HALESTORM’S Lzzy Hale in 2013. There, I’m glad I got to vent on that one. Fuck the naysayers, I say! Anyways, now it is 2015 and BFMV have returned with new album Venom (RCA Records). It’s been a long two years and change for this fan and I’m glad to have my mitts on it now.
This time around it really seems like Matt Tuck and Co. have done their very best to straddle the line between the heaviness that gained them leagues of fans to begin with while still incorporating some of the more accessible elements from Fever and Temper Temper, two albums that unsurprisingly vaulted them into worldwide headliner status (whenever they feel like it, anyway). The results are very, very good as well as effective. Both opening number “No Way Out” and “Army of Noise” combine the screams and grittiness with Tuck’s clean vocals. It’s a winning formula, and the dual guitar work is simply riff-tastic, not just on these two but pretty much everywhere on the disc. Tuck (who also handled bass duties) and fellow guitarist Michael “Padge” Paget always whip up something special and this time around is no exception. And on “Noise” the harmonized solo simply rips!
I knew the first time I heard “You Want a Battle? (Here’s a War)” that it was destined to be in my Top Five BFMV songs all time. It’s a big production, and carries a great message. The video’s pretty powerful, too. I’m looking forward to this one on tour, no question. The title track “Venom” is another stellar cut, full of atmosphere and mood, two things I love. The band takes off on a tear with “Broken”, Tuck screaming his lungs out as only he can, and once again the guitar interplay that makes these guys so fucking great shows up on “The Harder the Heart (The Harder It Breaks)”. And let’s not discount the drum badassery of Michael “Moose” Thomas, knowing exactly where to insert just the right fill or double bass attack.
The last two tracks really send the record off with a bang. “Hell Or High Water” brings with it a very choppy rhythm, while closer “Pariah” is pure fire and gasoline. If THIS one isn’t played live, these guys need their heads examined. Once again BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE delivers exactly what I was hoping for: a kickass record full of new tunes that I will be craving in a live setting. Venom is out now, and whether you’re a big fan like me or a casual follower there’s plenty to sink your teeth into.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “You Want a Battle? (Here’s a War)”, “Pariah”, “The Harder the Heart (The Harder It Breaks)”, “Venom”, “No Way Out”