First you want to hate them, then you want to love them. Bullet For My Valentine, one of the biggest success stories of British metal in the 21st century, are back with their sixth studio album ‘Gravity’, their first album to feature ex-Pitchshifter drummer, Jason Bowld.
They may not be riding the same crest of a wave that they did in the 2000s, but Bullet For My Valentine certainly aren’t going away without a fight.
The stylistic change from their last effort, 2015’s ‘Venom’, will be immediately apparent. This will no doubt draw comparisons to latter day Bring Me The Horizon and ‘They’re Only Chasing Safety’ era Underoath. That’s not a bad thing, but when this sound has been done to death, it’s hard to offer a new take on it.
The chorus of ‘Letting You Go’ will get stuck in your head, but it’s obvious that this song, along with many others on here, are overproduced. Matt Tuck‘s voice has way too many effects on it, and this is exposed by the vocals-only ending. Is he actually human, or are we supposed to behold the Matt Tuck-O-Tron-3000?
Thankfully, however, this kind of discomfort is not present throughout the entirety of ‘Gravity’. The title-track, ‘Over It’, and ‘Don’t Need You’ are solid, and have enough hooks, riffs, and musical ideas to keep you listening.
‘The Very Last Time’ is actually a decent try at a full-on pop song, even if it contains idiosyncrasies such as the cringe-worthy “resusc… i… tate” vocal delivery. But, despite it having synth and string ideas aplenty, the ultra-compressed and effect-heavy production again holds it back from what it could have been.
It’s well known at this point that Tuck‘s lyrics resemble your teenage diary rather than the work of Friedrich Nietzsche. A case in point is “Give me a reason why I should give a fuck” from ‘Piece Of Me’, along with the tired metaphors in closing ballad, ‘Breathe Underwater’. Yet, he has always been able to bring hooks that will keep you singing those lyrics, and it’s as evident on ‘Gravity’ as it is on any of the band’s other albums. So, in that regard, he wins.
‘Gravity’ is not a complete failure, and it’s perhaps unfair to say the songs are badly written. Time will tell if this album will be as poorly received as ‘Temper, Temper’, but unfortunately there are numerous indicators of a similar fate here. Oh well, there’s always ‘The Poison’.