Bullet For My Valentine returned this weekend with its latest album. The self-titled 10-song album was released Friday through Spinefarm Records/Search & Destroy Records. It came `more than three years after the release of the band’s then latest album, Gravity, which the band has openly said played its own part in the development of this latest offering. The band stated that BFMV is a hybrid of that record and its predecessor, 2015’s Venom. That is an interesting comparison because in listening through the record from beginning to end, its musical arrangements are more along the lines of the content featured in Venom than Gravity. This will be discussed shortly. The record’s lyrical themes meanwhile, will appeal to fans of that album, but of all of the band’s albums. This will be discussed a little later. The record’s production brings everything together and rounds out the album’s most important items. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of Bullet For My Valentine. All things considered, they make the album a powerful new offering from this veteran metal outfit.
Bullet For My Valentine’s brand new self-titled album, released Friday, is among the band’s best work to date, hands down. The record’s success is due in no small part to its featured musical arrangements. As already noted, the band has been cited as saying that the record’s musical arrangements are a blend of the sounds from the band’s two past records. Interestingly enough though, the heaviness that runs through the album’s musical arrangements seem (at least to this critic) more in line with the musical content featured in Venom than Gravity. That is evidenced throughout the record’s 49 minute run time. One of the most notable works featured in this record comes late in the record’s run in ‘Rainbow Veins.’ Where the majority of the arrangements featured in the record are so intense and high-energy, this brooding opus is more of a doom metal style work. At the same time, there is a certain quality in the sound from the guitars (thanks to the production) that really makes that part of the arrangement comparable to certain works from the likes of Killswitch Engage. It sounds like an odd comparison/combination, but those influences are there. The gloomy, brooding approach works especially well here when it is considered along with the song’s lyrical theme, which will be discussed a little later. As the song progresses, it turns more in a heavy, metalcore sound similar to that of the likes of Atreyu and Of Mice & Men.
‘Rainbow Veins’ is just one example of the power of the album’s musical content. ‘No Happy Ever After’ is another way in which the album’s musical side shows its importance. In the case of this song, there is a certain vintage thrash influence in the guitars alongside front man Matthew Tuck’s screams that makes for quite the interesting juxtaposition. It is an approach and sound that is completely unlike that featured in ‘Rainbow Veins’ and the rest of the album’s works, too. Drummer Jason Bowld’s solid time keeping and the richness in the drums’ sound (again thanks to the production) adds its own impact to the arrangement. The whole, along with the work of bassist Jamie Mathias, makes ‘No Happy Ever After’ yet another strong, notable addition to the record’s overall musical body. It is just another way in which the record’s musical arrangements show their importance. ‘Death By A Thousand Cuts’ is yet another example of the importance and role of the album’s musical arrangements.
The album’s closer, ‘Death By A Thousand Cuts’ stands out through its musical arrangements because of its own blend of influences. The familiar metalcore influences of Venom are there once again. There is no question about that. At the same time, there are some moments in the song that show a subtle influence from Slipknot. At the same time, the clean vocals and heavy melodic moments make for their own interesting contrast to the noted mix. All things considered here, the song is its own unique, heavy addition to the song and yet another example of what makes Bullet For My Valentine’s musical arrangements so important to the record’s whole. They are diverse throughout and even within themselves from one to the next. Keeping that in mind, the musical arrangements featured in this album are just a part of what makes the record successful. The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical content add to the album’s success in their own right.
The lyrical themes that are featured in Bullet For My Valentine are important to note because of their own diversity and their accessibility. From one to the next, the album’s lyrical themes are those of determination, desperation, and defiance. The theme and the manner in which it is delivered changes from one song to the next. The most notable of the themes of desperation comes, as already noted, through ‘Rainbow Veins.’ The desperation in this case comes as the result of what would seem to be drug addition. This is inferred as Tuck sings in the song’s lead verse, “Flying high/I’m still drowning in the chemicals/And now/I just can’t come down/Diving headfirst into a black hole/Becoming unstable mentally/I’m trying hard to ride these tidal waves/Of unfiltered ecstacy.” The declaration in the song’s chorus that, “Another day/But I don’t wanna face it/And I Don’t wanna feel it now/Another day/But I don’t wanna face it” furthers that inference. The theme of the dangers of drug use and addiction is nothing new to the rock realm. It is just as powerful here as in the case of any other song past and present. The sense of desperation that is exhibited through that powerful wording and the song’s equally powerful musical arrangement does so well to move audiences. To that end, it is just one of the songs that serves to show the importance of the album’s lyrical themes. The theme of determination is well exhibited in the song’s predecessor, ‘Bastards.’
‘Bastards’ is certain to become a live favorite among the band’s fans. That is proven through its powerful, anthemic arrangement and its equally proud, fist-pumping lyrical content. Tuck delivers a defiant, protest statement against the powers that be here as he sings/half-raps, “Stand with me/We can be an army of minorities/Just believe/Taking on the world with no apologies/Will bring them to their knees/Lies, denial, corruption, criminals/Don’t repeat/See the puppets marching to the beat/No retreat/Fight until the death/In order to proceed/We won’t accept defeat/Waitin’ for our call to arms/F*** ‘em all.” The chorus’ final statement of “Don’t ever put your future in the hands of the devil/Or you’re history” is just as telling. It furthers the message of defiance and determination strong and proud. It is a message of determination and defiance against those in power who would otherwise abuse those below them, especially in the halls of power. It is certain to connect with audiences as it continues to show the noted diversity in the themes and how they are delivered in its own unique way. The themes of defiance and determination comes in ye another unique way in the album’s finale, ‘Death By A Thousand Cuts.’
The noted theme comes as Tuck sings in the song’s chorus, “When hope is all but gone/There’s nothing more to give/Look deep inside yourself/And carry on.” One could argue that this short, simple statement is in fact its own message of hope even despite the mention of hope potentially lacking in a person. The contrast in that brief but powerful statement to the sense of misery and hopelessness strengthen Tuck’s reminder to listeners to not lose hope and to keep on keeping on even when one feels so much negativity is powerful and unique in its own presentation while again, presenting one of the noted theme. When it is considered along with the themes presented in the other examined songs and how those themes are presented – as well as with those of the album’s other songs – the whole leaves no doubt as to the overall importance of the album’s lyrical content. When the musical and lyrical content is considered together, the whole gives audiences more than enough reason to hear the album. It is only a part of what makes the album successful, too. The record’s production rounds out its most important items.
The production that went into Bullet For My Valentine is important to note because of the overall impact that it has one the record’s general effect. As noted already at points here, the production gives a richness and fullness to the sound of the instruments from point to point within the songs and from song to song. At the same time, it ensures that the instruments never overpower one another or even the vocals. Considering how heavy this record is from start to end, that is extremely important. Clearly, plenty of time and effort went into balancing the instrumentation of each arrangement. As a result, each song ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment in its own way. When the impact of that work is considered along with that of the content itself, the whole leaves the album that much more successful. All things considered, Bullet For My Valentine proves to be among the band’s best works to date.
Bullet For My Valentine’s brand new self-titled album is a powerful new offering from the band. It is a successful presentation from start to end. That is proven in part through the album’s musical arrangements. The arrangements are important to note because of their subtle diversity and their heaviness. The lyrical themes that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements are important to its whole, too. That is because of their own diversity and accessibility. The record’s production rounds out its most important elements. That is because of its impact on the album’s general effect. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album. All things considered, they make Bullet For My Valentine one of the band’s best albums to date.
Bullet For My Valentine is available now through Spinefarm Records/Search & Destroy Records. More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at: