For Fans Of
Bias, subjectivity and overall preconception can be a dangerous thing – unfair, elaborate and discriminating in so many ways. The point was made very clearly the best part of three years, and still feels prevalent, is Bullet for My Valentine an innovative band or merely just a popular band? Staunch supporters will take the ‘have your cake and eat it too’ approach and say they are both. The fence sitters will dip their toes in both ways of thinking, while the ardent opponents will cry foul of the Welsh band’s attempts at contemporary metal.
Let’s try and remove individual opinion or rather influential outside attitudes, and find an analysis based on dispassionate approach. Predecessor ‘Fever’ was characteristically vague – it sounded like BFMV. It was solid at points, and it was dull in others. Fourth studio album, ‘Temper Temper’ (sorry, could’ve just been called ‘Temper’, we can do without the awkward repetition), is again trademark BFMV. But is this a good thing? Rather, is it a productive thing?
One immediate observation is the album is too polished. It sounds a microcosm of metal. It’s clean cut, overly precise and equally clinical. For some genres this would be an ideal thing. But, metal is dirty, it’s downtrodden, it is rough around the edges. Pantera’s music didn’t make you want to sport combed hair and fashion neat, buttoned up shirts.
Let’s put a disclaimer and distinction in place though, BFMV are capable, confident and respectable musicians. They treat their craft in a considered and professional manner. They put the effort in and seem humble and appreciative of the genre. However, while this sound is embraced, it still never feels innovative. Case in point ‘Breaking Point’ – the riff, opening scream and initial instrumental passage is impressive then the vocals kick in and the neutral listener can’t help but let out a tired sigh.
The music is catchy and attempts to have impact. However, going back to previous assertions, ‘Temper Temper’ does not smack the listener in the face. You listen to any of the group’s obvious influences (Metallica perhaps?) and their records make you want to tear strips off the wall. This album INSTEAD makes you want to pour a nice cup of tea and listen to it very mildly on the stereo.
From a technical and proficiency standpoint, ‘Temper Temper’ is again a reflection of impressive musicians. Every song though just blends into one another. 80’s metal riffs, deeper vocals in the verse sections and a catchy chorus. That template explains EVERY song here.
Bullet For My Valentine seems to have an acute and effective understanding of song structure and the genre itself. They are arguably in their prime – a nice mix of experience and motivation. However, this never seems to match-up with the finished product. It is not to say that ‘Temper Temper’ is laboured, but for a metal record it should achieve a lot more than what is presented here.
1. Breaking Point
2. Truth Hurts
3. Temper Temper
5. Dirty Little Secret
7. Dead To The World
9. Saints n Sinners
10. Tears Don’t Fall (Part 2)
11. Livin Life (On The Edge of A Knife)