Album Review: Bullet for My Valentine - 'Fever'

13 May 2010 | 8:23 pm | Staff Writer

The jury is still undecided…

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Looking at this album dispassionately, one cannot help but feel caught between a rock and a hard place. Is Bullet for My Valentine worthy of the apparent hype? Is this success justified in the music? Or rather, is the Welsh quartet’s potential and musical output grossly overestimated?

The short and seemingly long answer suggests that both assertions appear equally plausible. Third studio album entitled ‘Fever’ does nothing to clear up the prevailing ambiguity. In some instances, the music is solid, defined and unashamedly precise. In other moments, the album treads through specific periods of indifference and dull musical rhetoric.

Much like an episode of Lost, all questions one wants answered are glossed over or answered without being fully resolved.

The obvious musical stylings and fondness for 80’s metal heavyweights, namely Metallica and Iron Maiden are noticeable. The music is driving, the riffs and solos evident, and the rhythm section forceful. The problem however, is that there is not much progression from the ‘Scream, Aim, Fire’ sessions nor is there anything that suggests this is highly innovative. When you look at metal’s royalty, we see a constant – the presence in both persona and unique vocals of the ‘front man’. Think Hetfield, Dickinson, Anselmo et al. Matt Tuck certainly does not labour through his singing but there is nothing memorable that gives BFMV that undeniable edge.

One tick though for BFMV is that the band has refined their skills. There is an obvious appreciation for the metal craft on this release. Moreover, there is a degree of proficiency that gives credence to the fact that BFMV (whether rightly or wrongly) are possibly the most popular band in British metal currently. Although, it is worth noting, that popularity does not necessarily mean the music is brilliant – ‘Fever’ proves this, with the album stable but not spectacular.

Consequently, ‘Fever’ is consistent with the band’s pre-existing offerings. There are some very good songs, some average ones and likewise some boring tracks. ‘Pleasure and Pain’ is arguably the album’s strongest point and essentially one of the album’s heavier moments. The riffs are livelier and a catchy chorus balances the louder verse section. Title track ‘Fever’ is another good case study of effective rock inspired metal. In direct comparison, ‘Bittersweet Memories’ and ‘A Place Where You Belong’ can do with a miss.

You cannot help shake the feeling that there are plenty of other bands out there today that receive much less praise and support as BFMV receive, yet deserve to be viewed ahead of this band. In a nutshell, ‘Fever’ is good and at times enjoyable but nothing great.

Third studio album ‘Fever’ follows a similar script. Promise is tempered by monotony; enjoyment is matched by apathy, and so forth. ‘Fever’ has its moments and the music is of a high standard but contemporary metal has a plethora of other bands that deserve more acclaim than BFMV garner.

1. Your Betrayal

2. Fever

3. The Last Fight

4. A Place Where You Belong

5. Pleasure and Pain

6. Alone

7. Breaking Out, Breaking Down

8. Bittersweet Memories

9. Dignity

10. Begging for Mercy

11. Pretty on the Outside