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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bullet For My Valentine: Fever

Year released: 2010
Website: www.bulletformyvalentine.com, www.myspace.com/bulletformyvalentine
Label: Jive Records (a unit of Sony Music Entertainment)


1. Your Betrayal [4:52]

2. Fever [3:57]

3. The Last Fight [4:19]

4. A Place Where You Belong [5:07]

5. Pleasure And Pain [3:53]

6. Alone [5:56]

7. Breaking Out, Breaking Down [4:04]

8. Bittersweet Memories [5:09]

9. Dignity [4:29]

10. Begging For Mercy [3:56]

11. Pretty On The Outside [3:56]


“Fever” is the third studio album released by the Welsh metal band, Bullet For My Valentine. It was released on 27th April 2010 in the US. Since then it has risen to debut at #3 on The Billboard 200 and #1 on the Rock and Alternative Charts, making it the most successful BFMV record out of the three, the others being “The Poison” and “Scream Aim Fire”.

Listening to the record, it is easy to see why; Fever is comprised of 11 songs, with a mix of infectious and catchy riffs, anthem-ish rhythms, both upbeat and slower songs with tinges of Matt’s screaming giving the whole album that edgy feel, there’s something for everyone. The sound on this album is definitely more calculated than that of The Poison with “a crisp, clean production where every note is experienced.” (Noisecreep). Looking in terms of the band’s individual skill, the more complex riffing progressions, guitar solos, and unusual breakdowns and layers makes it obvious that each band member’s skill is improving. As usual BFMV pulls out another record of high quality, and depending on how well they continue to do, they could be en route to being a future classic of the metal arena. Although they have improved, I can’t help noticing that the band has however toned down the screaming compared to their debut album, “The Poison”. The screaming on the title album now serves mostly to accentuate and not as the main medium of singing, a slight downside for me.

The first song and also their single, “Your Betrayal” is possibly one of the best openers I’ve heard in a long time with the first 1:20 of the song serving both as a superb build-up as well as showing off the skills of the drummer (Michael Thomas) and the guitarists (Matt Tuck; Michael Paget).The progressive layering together with the first line of the song when Matt whispers ‘Am I going insane’ runs chills up my spine and the other whispered parts also serve to a great effect a contrast to Matt’s screaming. All in all, it’s the little details (like the bass slide at 2:33) that make this song outstanding, and it really sets the tone of the rest of the album. A noteworthy song (hah, noteworthy) is ‘Dignity’, because this is a song that I reckon more screaming would really suit it, especially at the part where the lyrics go – “Don’t push me because I won’t go quietly”. But then again this is still a good song, with a well-placed guitar solo that shows BFMV is still a band that doesn’t hide its skill and pugnaciously shreds for the world to hear.

Morbid Sweethearts: From left to right - Matthew 'Matt' Tuck (Vocals, Guitar), Michael 'Moose' Thomas (Drums), Michael 'Padge' Paget (Guitar), Jason 'Jay' James (Bass Guitar)

Another song that caught my attention is “Begging For Mercy”. This song was available to the public as a free download prior to the album’s release, and it features much more screaming than the other tracks. This is one of the few songs on “Fever” that shows Matt has not lost his edge since “The Poison”, which is probably his way of gratifying the scream-starved metalcore fans awaiting for BFMV’s return to harder songs. Since this album features a lot more singing than “The Poison”, it is worthy to note that Matt’s accent becomes apparent here and it might sound strange to listeners of mostly American metalcore. An example would be his accent giving the ballad “Bittersweet Memories” a ‘flat’ tonality. The closing song “Pretty On The Outside” is a really good song with very good energy, rapid-fire screamo parts, and sorrow-filled chugging guitar riffs that ensure most listeners would remember what this album was all about.

BFMV is back on track: Heavy, fast, infectious

Fans of “The Poison” will be glad with the reversion to a similar style after the departure from the forgettable sound heard on “Scream Aim Fire”. Matt explains that this album was intended to return to the formula that created “The Poison”, but with greater experimentation with sounds and techniques he never tried before. This album finds an interesting mid-ground between “The Poison” and “Scream Aim Fire”, highlighting the aggressiveness of the record with greater technical detail and embellishments, leaving listeners to look forward to the next BFMV album. Personally, I feel that this album does succeed where “The Poison” never did, and that is its dynamical sound. It seems to me that with their accumulation of better techniques gained through musical experimentation, BFMV will definitely be capable of throwing out a truly epic album sometime in the future.

Verdict: 9.3/10

Written by guest writer, Low Yi Ming (edited by Shadori).

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