Skillfully engineered to appeal to an audience that's hungry for new songs but not...
Eamonn Stack 2008-02-20
This is Bullet For My Valentine's second album with Colin Richardson, metal uber producer - on desk duties. It was he who was also behind successful records for Cradle Of Filth, Funeral For a Friend, Slipknot and Trivium, among many others. BFMV's image and sound is old school thrash metal, (speedcore, metalcore, screamcore - whatever it's called this week), high energy (not NRG), brain-out, pedal to the metal fast, with insistent, swooping, screaming guitars and grinding, riffing basslines. In short it encourages you to headbang and scream along until all the veins in your neck explode. Or until your Mum yells 'Dinner's ready!!'
Technically they're varied and gimp-mask tight. Their sound has a chugging depth and driving stylistic detail: more than enough to tick all the formula boxes for the genre. It feels skillfully engineered to appeal to an audience that's hungry for new songs but not necessarily a new sound, and in that sense it succeeds.
There's plenty of good material here: Hearts Burst Into Flame is a melodic, catchy and anthemic (compared to the two-mile-a-minute openers) slice of Love metal. Some loss of tempo allows the guitars to have some more prolonged bite.
But if it's actual facial bite marks a half-starved pit bull terrier would be proud of you're after, then skip straight to Waking The Demon and Eye Of The Storm; both textbook crunching speed metal. They're heavier than a wet concrete overcoat, with some pretty catchy vocals and some very nifty axe murdering. And dead bodies everywhere. Which is nice.
Deliver Us From Evil is melodically more subtle and a bit groovier and thrives in a quiet/loud arrangement that rarely fails to deliver the goods.
It's nothing that HIM's recent Venus Doom hasn't done before. Yet, while that album was, in parts, slicker, blacker, shinier and catchier it ultimately lacked BRMV's gargantuan heft and leather-rat-up-a-dranpipe speed. And in the metal world, nothing succeeds like excess.