Monday, 11 March 2013

Bullet for my Valentine's 'Temper Temper' - Album Review

Bullet for my Valentine have been taking the commercial metal world by storm ever since releasing their self-titled EP in 2004. Their mix of heaviness, melody and attitude was a hit with the younger generations and quickly elevated the band to household names and arena headliners. However, it would seem that the sheen has worn off, and time has left Bullet for my Valentine as an uncool throw back to one's angst-filled youth. The band are still successful and still selling out big venues, but it seems that few but the loyal can say their name without a little sneer. This year sees the release of the band's fourth album Temper Temper and you could almost hear the collective 'meh' from the majority of people when they heard it. It is the band's weakest album so far, I have no doubts about that - but with each repeated listen, I still find plenty to keep me entertained. Their formula has not changed, so people who never liked the band in the first place will not find anything redeeming here, so I am surprised the album has been so poorly received by the band's fanbase.

The album kicks things off with Breaking Point, a song with all the hallmarks of classic Bullet for my Valentine. Fluid guitar work, punchy drums and Matt Tuck's trademark snarling vocal delivery are all present and correct; but it just seems a little tired. It is hard to put a finger on why, but it just seems that maybe the band have stomped the mudhole dry. Still, a flashy guitar solo from Michael Paget impresses and drags the song into the 'acceptable' category. Truth Hurts is a similar affair, but this one is much closer to the mark. The guitar work in the verses is interesing combining staccato rhythms, neat little lead runs and some dissident chords to create a good sound. The chorus is also rather good, catchy enough to make it interesting and one that will go down well live. The first single and title track follows and this is where things start to get pretty good. Some palm-muted guitar runs get things started before a really meaty riff steals the show. This is Bullet at their finest, it is nothing fancy but it's catchy and heavy enough to satisfy the fanbase. It is also home to the first truely excellent chorus on the album. It is singable, melodic and memorable - just what the doctor ordered! The next highlight is the mid-paced Dirty Little Secret. After a riff-heavy intro, clean guitars herald the arrival of the verses and Tuck sings as a delicately as is possible for him over the top of them. The choruses are heavier, creating a nice contrast between light and shade.

Dead to the World is the album's pseudo-ballad, and a good one at that. There is a certain atmosphere that this track creates to it's advantage and slowly builds with the help of apeggiated guitar lines and small drum fills. It all comes together to create a moody song that sits well in the middle of the album. Second single and album highlight Riot follows, and I feel that this is the direction that band should pursue in the future. It is an angry little song that packs so much into 2 minutes and 49 seconds of music. Everything about this song is great, apart from the lyrics, but they are still so damn catchy despite being juvenile. It is a real winner! Tears Don't Fall (Part 2) is an odd one, one the one hand it works well as a song in it's own right - but on the other it is almost TOO similar to the original song that it comes across as a mere copy rather than a natural sequel. It comes across as very cliché and just feels like a cheap attempt at recreating the success that the original one had. The album comes to end with the rather good Livin' Life (On the Edge of a Knife) which, while not the best song here, rounds off the album well and features many of the band's key strengths. Overall, I have found plenty to enjoy on this album. I find it a shame that so many people seem to be writing the band off - but at the same time I can see why some are disappointed with this album. It certainly is not world-beating, but there are plenty of good tunes here to get your head around!

The album was released on 8th February 2013 via RCA Records. Below is the band's promotional video for Riot.

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