Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Bullet for My Valentine `Venom’ Review by Danie Martin

Bullet for My Valentine could be described as a ‘gateway’ band. Their fifth album is more aggressive overall when compared to the last album ‘Temper, Temper’, incorporating more thrash sounds; heard previously back in the ‘Scream, Aim, Fire’ days. This being said, it is still very much Bullet and is packed full of the typical Bullet for My Valentine resonance, which is fine – after all, if it ain’t broken... 

‘Venom’ opens with V, which ultimately tries to build atmosphere to set the tone (excuse the pun) for the album, although this doesn’t quite achieve the ambiance expected. The first song is the bands single No Way Out and armed with new bassist – long time fan and fellow country-man Jamie Mathias formally of metal band `Revoker’ – it is an apt start to the album. It certainly appears that Jamie has jumped straight in and listening to the album he has blended in with the Bullet sound.

The next few songs on the record are strong, `Army of Noise’ and `Worthless’ are great follow-ups to `No Way Out’ both of which display the sing-along style catchy chorus’ and inviting instrumentals that typifies the Bullet sound. `You Want a Battle’ really gets it going, a memorable track highlighting what Bullet does best featuring synchronicity of sound, development of song structure, elements of metal in the riffs, passionate vocals and remaining totally easy listening. Unfortunately, considering the 15 track set on the deluxe edition, this is where the album peaks.

The title track `Venom’ is slightly confusing and doesn’t feel particularly representative of the jist of the album so far. It’s a good song, but it feels like a bit of a filler with its slower beat and more melancholic lyrics. `Venom’ loses the albums pace and aggression. None of what follows is in any way substandard music, but if feels like the pace has been knocked and the tracks begin to blend. That is until track 10.

`Hell or High Water’, brings with it a replenishment of energy. It is a simple and enjoyable track that is well structured and instrumentally sound with a standout drum part. Following on in a similar pattern the next tracks are just more of the same filler-style songs, which is a shame, because they are good tracks. I just can’t believe I’ve described songs as ‘good’ twice in one review, but I can’t help it, that’s just what they are.

The closing song on the album is Pariah, which is followed by four more ‘bonus’ tracks on the deluxe edition which ends with Raising Hell; the only one that’s really worth a special mention. Raising Hell acts as a great ‘sum up’ of the music Bullet have put together for this album. It is catchy, passionate and slightly evolved while fitting the winning formula. The whole album is this way with exception to the unnecessary tracks filling up what would otherwise be pretty spectacular.


Stand Out Tracks:
2 – No Way Out
5 – You Want a Battle
10 – Hell or High Water
15 – Raising Hell

Track Listing:
1. V
2. No Way Out
3. Army of Noise
4. Worthless
5. You Want a Battle
6. Broken
7. Venom
8. The Harder the Heart
9. Skin
10. Hell or High Water
11. Pariah
12. Playing God
13. Run For Your Life
14. In Loving Memory
15. Raising Hell

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