Raising hell. Those two words could clearly describe the state my mind and my heart were in when I first listened to Bullet For My Valentine’s last album Temper Temper, released back in 2013. Indeed, it was something unthinkable, and it was not good at all.
Me walking down the wet and gloomy street: smartphone in hand, ears covered with headphones, hair wavering against the wind, lungs full of fresh air, and my finger pressing the Play button on the glowing screen covered with rare drops of early spring rain. The first four drum beats set me apart from somewhat unforgettable experience. And it indeed was an experience!
Starting from ‘Breaking Point’, the only song on the entire album featuring heavy, screamy vocals, and finishing with ‘Tears Don’t Fall Part 2’, a pathetic continuation of the legendary hit, I have found myself in the big disappointment 45 minutes later, returning home. That same evening I searched the web for excuses, just to find out that the average rating was six out of ten. Many people were saying the band is getting old, that they are losing the touch. Personally, I did not think that was the case. I took the Welsh band’s new album as an easy way to keep their discography spinning. Having loved three high-quality studio albums in BFMV’s portfolio, that seemed to be the only answer.
Now it seems I was right. The band released a somewhat remarkable and doubt-breaking single earlier this year. The title of this game-changer is ‘Raising Hell’.
I was on fire when I first heard this song! Reminding me of the good ol’ days when ‘Hand of Blood’ was released, ‘Raising Hell’ catches my attention right away: truly a badass intro, much heavier that we’ve heard in a while. Fast and furious, it literally makes your head bang itself, the kind of energy I felt really lacked on the last album.
The first verse is written in the best traditions of melodic metalcore: it starts as an unexpected journey, and makes its way through the first half of the minute. High-quality vocals from Matt Tuck, who looks like he’s finally recovered from the throat problems that he experienced for the last couple of years, and he’s finally brought us some meaningful lyrics. But what really makes me excited is that we’ve finally seen the dog let out of his cage. Yeah, I’m talking about Jason James here. When was the last time he actually screamed in the song? Highlighting those words with heavy vocals – it really adds drive and makes the song. . . well, metal!
Then comes the chorus. And this is indeed what makes the song unique. Throughout the whole verse, they charge you up, make you wait some more on pre-chorus, and once the moment comes – it is time to unleash!
I missed it. I missed those clean vocals right after heavy verse; I missed that rhythm guitar of Matt’s playing along with Michael Paget brining what melodic metalcore is all about – melody. That lick right during the chorus that we hear from Paget is something that creates a mood, tells a story. It is what makes a cold power chord-based song truly unique. That spark that is needed to ignite a fire.
And the fire indeed was ignited! For the first time in many years we hear Matt Tuck SCREAMING! Hell yeah, his problems are in the past, and that second verse right there is a recorded proof of that.
Then comes the chorus again: rhythm guitar, a pick slide that leads us to. . . oh yeah, it’s time for a classy BFMV-style guitar solo! Cooked and served by professionals, it tastes amazing. And it is something that never gets old.
The thing that I really liked was the moment when everything stopped for a second before the final chorus, and only Matt was singing – then four instruments exploded again!
For a melodic metalcore band, it was unforgivable to abandon those traditions on their previous album. Moreover, what I felt was some kind of pattern among many bands releasing their albums last years. Avenged Sevenfold promised us “the heaviest record we’ve put so far”, but we got classy Black Sabbath instead of Hail To The King. In 2012, All That Remains abandoned its melodic deathcore/metalcore style and produced a somewhat radio-friendly heavy metal album, A War You Cannot Win, for which they received criticism from their fans. Even Trivium with Vengeance Falls, produced by teaming up with David Draiman from Disturbed, has lost its signature ground. The only band that really pleased me as a melodic metalcore listener – without a doubt – was Killswitch Engage with their heavy as ever Disarm and Descent.
However, it seems like playtime is over. With Bullet For My Valentine back on track, I really feel like their new album will be something we all loved about BFMV – melodic solos, badass riffs, heavy and screamy but meaningful vocals with a clean chorus that brings you a pure musical orgasm! Songs like ‘Waking the Demon’, ‘Tears Don’t Fall’ and ‘Scream Aim Fire’ are examples of high professionalism that the Bullets are bringing, along with passion, drive and energy.