For Fans Of
Bullet For My Valentine have such a solidified fanbase that if they continued to release the same album every year their career would still be prosperous. Fortunately, they’re better than that, but with the plus and minus nature of new release, ‘Venom‘, they come a little too close for comfort.
The album succeeds on the platform of retaining what Bullet fans love about Bullet. ‘V‘ opens the album with the dramatic edge that Bullet have maintained throughout their discography, a short introduction that sounds like the sonic equivalent of a train getting closer to the station. Contrastingly to the build up, ‘Army of Noise‘ is somewhat of a climax, stirring screams with a rhythm formed just as much by rapid guitars as drums. It also exposes an exciting weapon, a guitar solo, to the otherwise stalemate-like scenario the album falls into. Similarly, ‘Worthless‘ is a standout song on the album in terms of exhibiting musical ability and inserting variety, the spice of life, into the album’s mostly formulaic playback.
On the flipside, that’s what most of this album is: formulaic. Innovation isn’t a noticeable theme, and you wouldn’t be faulted for an eye-roll every now and then. Ultimately, this album isn’t bad, but it isn’t fresh enough to be worthy of overt praise. While ‘Broken‘ supports that point, tracks like ‘Hell Or High Water‘ and ‘No Way Out‘ are even more significant in reinforcing this album’s most disappointing flaw: its lyricism. Cheesier than a pizza topped with seven thousand tonnes of mozzarella, parmesan and camembert, it’s not enough to make it catchy – it has to mean something. Better examples of substance include the noble ‘You Want A Battle (Here’s A War)‘, repairing the kink that was revealed in the band’s armour previously.
‘Venom‘, outwardly allusive to ‘Poison‘, is a roller coaster of ups and downs, some of which step up to the plate and sound like the band is on a Red Bull high and others that indicate a sort of slump. If you’re a Bullet fan, this one isn’t going to get you down too much, but from an outsider’s perspective, it certainly isn’t blazing a trail.
Bullet For My Valentine have been sitting at the same status for a while. While this album is equipped with a heavier approach than previous releases, its punches are insufficient in making it a trail-blazing, groundbreaking or career defining anything. Nevertheless, it’s not completely forgettable, and you’ll still be tapping your foot to at least one of these tracks a couple of days after your first listen.
2. No Way Out
3. Army of Noise
5. You Want A Battle? (Here’s A War)
8. Harder the Heart
10. Hell or High Water