Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bullet for My Valentine

FILE UNDER: Metallica at the Prom
Bullet For My Valentine


After three albums it's become pretty clear what to expect from Welsh quartet Bullet for My Valentine: shredding metal thrash, a pounding hard core thump, scorched earth vocals tempered by sweet harmonies, shimmering production, woefully cliched lyrics, that creepy dead girlfriend aesthetic that pervades so much of latter day emo and stadium-sized power ballads. Lots and lots of power ballads. It's a formula so insidiously all-encompassing of contemporary youth trends you might be tempted to dismiss the band as test tube born if you were one of those hardline metal purists obsessed with questions of authenticity. Well, those assholes can report promptly back to whatever 90s record store slacker indie film they came from, because none of that matters when the music is this hook-laden and invigorating. Nothing on this record deviates from the blueprint drastically, but “A Place Where You Belong” is the lone crossover weeper here. “No Mercy” and “Your Betrayal” are sludgy like a Welsh bog. B4MV can go make their heady concept record next time out if they want critical cred. Here it's still all about the harmonized riffs and the high-flying melodies interlocking with the type of rhythmic thud that feels like it could move the earth. And the pop charts.

(JIVE; www.jiverecords.com)

GO DOWNLOAD: “Dignity”

ROCKS LIKE: Atreyu Lead Sails Paper Anchor; Eighteen Visions, Obsession; Alexisonfire, Crisis

Q+A with singer/guitarist Matt Tuck

What efforts did you make to ensure sure you weren't repeating yourself on this record?

It wasn't a concern really, because subconsciously we never try to duplicate anything, we trust try to take influence from stuff we've done in the past that works and doesn't work and use that as a formula really more than anything else. Having [producer] Don Gilmore on board, we've never used him before, he was probably the biggest help in making us approach things differently. Especially with the vocals and the melody. That's where he really came to life. I've never worked with anyone like that before. It's by far better vocal production than anything we've done before, and that was because of Don really.

Are you still having any troubles with your voice?

Every thing's cool now. Back in 2007 I was going through all the crap with my voice. And I had a tonsillectomy and all that kind of stuff. Since then, for the last two years everything has really settled down. I've stopped smoking and I've gotten quite healthy and the voice is on fire right now. I've never really sounded better. I'm just very conscious of what I have and how important it is to look after it, which I do nowadays.

Has increased sales and success over the course of the previous two records altered your approach at all?

We're always looking to step up in songwriting, performance, recording, we're always looking to improve on every aspect of what we do, and hopefully that brings about better sales and bigger shows and stuff. It's not something we're totally concerned with. I think we're established as an act now so we can stay in the game. We're super ambitious and we're always looking to improve and work with producers that will push us harder to get us there. We're not too concerned about beating anything we've done because we think we'll easily do it because of the way this new album sounds. It's a huge progression from anything we've done before.

How is it different?

Just how mature it sounds. It's a very solid album. Poison and Scream Aim Fire were quite diverse and eclectic. You'd have really thrashy stuff and major key ballad stuff. Kind of sitting on the fence a little bit between heavy and not heavy and it was kind of appealing to a lot of people. This one is a super solid hard rock metal album. There are no major key kind of happy moments in there, everything is very dark, very sinister and very mid tempo paced. It's very much a mid-tempo stomping kind of heavy album. There are flashes of thrash in there, but it's nothing like the pervious two albums.

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