Catching the Fever

A return to form for emocore band Bullet For My Valentine

26th April 2010

Let me start by saying that I was a massive fan of Bullet For My Valentine's first album, The Poison. They were the first band I went to see live and they were absolutely fantastic. Matt Tuck had a fantastic swagger about him that was both arrogant but somewhat likeable, and they had massive anthems such as 4 Words (To Choke Upon) that were truly fantastic.

And then there was Scream Aim Fire. Oh dear. This album almost destroyed what I thought of them, and the only thing that was going to draw me back to their third album was the fact that the reason SAF was so appalling was that Tuck had allegedly contracted laryngitis and therefore could not sing properly anymore.

The first track I heard off of Fever was Begging For Mercy, and I was afraid that maybe Bullet were destined to just become a shit band that happened to have one good album. Then one day, a friend told me about another song he had heard on Radio One called Your Betrayal - and told me that it was more like the Bullet of old - and, thank god, he was right.

And so I waited with mixed feelings for the release of Fever.

The first three tracks (Your Betrayal, Fever, and The Last Fight) are big, bold, and brilliant. Then it progresses into the more ballad-style A Place Where You Belong, akin to an earlier single All These Things I Hate, only not as good. The album then blasts back with Pleasure and Pain, and while it still has the typical angsty-emo style lyrics (e.g. "Embrace your apathy/You don't bring me pleasure/You just bring me pain") it has ripping, heavy riffs and a decent solo.

Then Alone comes in. This riff sounds like it's inspired by As I Lay Dying's Forsaken, only it's got melodic lyrics instead of Tim Lambesis' growling vocals - and although they can't quite touch the lords of metalcore, it does a damn good job. It's even got a very good solo. This song is definitely the highlight of the album.

Breaking Out, Breaking Down is average - it's not bad, but it's not the most interesting of songs to listen to. Then Bittersweet Memories sounds like some kind of mainstream pop with metal elements - not to my taste. Dignity is better, and wouldn't sound out of place on The Poison or Hand of Blood.

Begging For Mercy flashes past in a blaze of mediocrity before the album's outro, Pretty On The Outside begins. This is a fitting end to the album, it's heavy, atmospheric and catchy, definitely ending the album on one of the better songs, and makes you feel very glad you listened to it (although I must say, it ends rather abruptly).

This album is a difficult one to review, as it has some very good highs, but then it's plagued by songs that sound like filler material. It's a massive, massive, massive leap from Scream Aim Fire, and the songs that are good are better than anything from The Poison.

In one way I look at it, I'm disappointed. But in another way, I think I'm being too picky. I mean, seven out of eleven songs are fantastic. And at the end of the day, they're the musicians, not me -

And Look At Them Now.