GETTING INTO: Bullet For My Valentine

Credit: Promo

The road for Welsh metalcore group Bullet For My Valentine has been a long, and mostly successful one. Their trademark blend of metalcore with more traditional solos of old-school metal, and a knack for the more melodic chorus heard in post-hardcore has become much-loved over the years and brought them a cult-like fanbase and truly dedicated following.

Having initially started the band back in 1998 under the then-name Jeff Killed John, a title they donned until 2003 where they became Bullet, the band’s first taste of success came in the form of their debut album, ‘The Poison’. To this day, many would still consider ‘The Poison’ Bullet’s magnum opus and that’s understandable – it was the record that sparked their following influential career in the alternative scene. Their ability to channel their inner emo and give voice to it through bruising, crushing riffs and slick, technical leads was, to many, a tasty triumph and one that the band have fully exploited throughout their career.

Even where many bands struggle on the second record, Bullet came out on top. ‘Scream, Aim, Fire’ was a fantastic follow-up to their debut, showing more of their songwriting strengths and ability to control the ferocity of moments through well-written tracks like ‘Hearts Burst Into Fire’ and ‘Waking The Demon’. At this point, Bullet’s popularity in the scene was at an all-time high, and rightly so.

‘Fever’ was an enjoyably solid release (again) serving as their third record, and came with some great tracks in the forms of ‘Your Betrayal’ and ‘The Last Fight’, but after this, things took a slight dip. ‘Temper Temper’ wasn’t the best demonstration of their qualities as a band and is generally regarded by both fans and critics as a bit of a mistake in their discography. That being said, after a couple of years, 2015’s ‘Venom’ saw the band back with a bite, on what’s arguably one of their best efforts to date. It packed in it the viciousness of their early work while showing a more mature progression and growth, enhancing what was great about it effectively.

A slightly surprising change in style came on 2018’s ‘Gravity’, ditching much of their traditional heaviness in search for a more radio-rock, arena-friendly selection of tracks. While it didn’t exactly go down a storm with everyone, there are still moments that show Bullet’s quality as a metal group. Either way, a brief look over their illustrious career as a band, and their discography finds a series of great tracks and some solid albums.

Matt Tuck has consistently been a powerful vocalist, with a nostalgic, almost 90s tone to his vocals, and a snarling quality to his screams that fully compliment the sheer destruction of the guitars beneath. Much of the band’s best work is capitalised by fiery instrumentals, with particularly strong guitar solos and vocal hooks, making BFMV sit nicely between a more traditional style metal and the newer wave of hardcore.


KEY TRACKS:

Check out our playlist below, compiled with what we think are some of the best Bullet For My Valentine tracks in the band’s catalogue, both for newcomers to the band and already firmly established fans.

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TOP 3 ALBUMS:

Below is our choice of the most accessible Bullet For My Valentine records. With such a choice of acclaimed, lauded, stylistically evolved music, it may be a tough choice to know where to begin. Leave it to us to pick the three essential LPs below.

THE POISON

Released: October 3rd, 2005

This one isn’t much of a surprise to fans of the band and is still often lauded as their best effort to date. As debut records, go this was about as perfect as it could get for BFMV and drew in a lot of fans for pulling together pulsating metal and the bitter-sweet melodic qualities heard from softer sub-genres like emo. Tracks like ‘Tears Don’t Fall’ – an instant classic that stands the test of time – ‘Her Voice Resides’ and ‘4 Words (To Choke Upon)’ are brutal and fiery, laced with slick solos and intricate guitar-work that solidified BFMV’s trademark sound. There’s no skipping on this one, every track is potent and deadly, and ‘The Poison’ is undoubtedly one of the band’s best works.

Best tracks: Tears Don’t Fall / Room 409 / Her Voice Resides


SCREAM, AIM, FIRE

Released: January 29th, 2008

Following up such a well-received and appreciated album was no easy feat at all, but thankfully, BFMV got it spot on with their sophomore ‘Scream, Aim, Fire’. It saw the band take the raw power of ‘The Poison’ and meticulously craft it with some stronger, more mature song-writing skills that ultimately concluded with a sturdy follow up to their cracking debut. The cries of the title-track are deadly, the sumptuous hooks of ‘Hearts Burst Into Fire’ are to die for, while the bruising heaviness and all-out riffage on tracks like ‘Waking The Demon’ and ‘End Of Days’. Sure, it’s not pushing too many boundaries, but as metal records go, this ticks all the boxes in pretty captivating fashion and is still much-loved within the band’s fanbase.

Best tracks: Scream, Aim, Fire / Hearts Burst Into Fire / Waking The Demon


VENOM

Released: August 14th, 2015

Following a few years of unfortunately less-memorable releases, Bullet’s bounce back record came in the shape of 2015’s ‘Venom’ – a record injected with spite and rage throughout. It was a return to a sound that brought them success, albeit perhaps edging more towards a thrash sound as opposed to their historical metalcore origins. ‘No Way Out’ offers a fast-paced start, while the title-track taps into glossy, chorus-ridden guitars reminiscent of ‘Hearts Burst Into Fire’, and the relentless energy of ‘You Want a Battle? (Here’s a War)’ is there for all to relish. Consider this a comeback album and one that offers a glimpse at Bullet‘s true qualities.

Best tracks: No Way Out / You Want a Battle? (Here’s a War) / Broken