They claim it’s the strongest album they’ve ever made, and pleasingly it seems to be just that.
Released: 14th August 2015
It’s been an odd time in the Bullet For My Valentine camp: they’ve got something to prove with this album, and it’s also their first without bassist Jay James and with newbie Jamie Mathias on board.
‘V’ is the preamble where you begin to wonder, can they make up for the perfectly average ‘Temper Temper’? It mills along hauntingly, leaving these questions to float. If the immediate screams of ‘No Way Out’ was answer alone, then this is them back. Full throttle, catchy chorus, this is what Bullet should have been producing all along.
It’s an odd sort of sandwich they have: it’s unashamedly their heaviest work to date, with attempts to slow it down peppering the middle. ‘Army of Noise’ is wild, with extensive solos, where ‘Worthless’ trudges along with melodic, airy moments soaring throughout.
Lyrically, Matt Tuck has pushed himself into darker territory, pulling from past experiences he’d long moved on from, but the result is an album that’s far easier to connect with. ‘You Want A Battle (Here’s A War)’ is about being bullied and coming out the other side, wrapped up with crowd-pleasing battle-cries and massive chorus.
Where ‘Temper Temper’ was a bit slapdash, ‘Venom’ has learned: the production is unashamedly massive, the choruses built for the big rooms, the content thoughtful and relatable. They wanted an album to sound like it belongs to them but moving forward, and it does, the problem is that once in a while there’s no unique markers, so the occasional track, while being technically tight, just sounds like any ol’ metal song.
‘Pariah’ closes off in the fashion that the album began, ferocious energy and total confidence. They claim it’s the strongest album they’ve ever made, and pleasingly it seems to be just that. Heather McDaid