LIVE: Bullet For My Valentine @ Academy, Manchester (04/12/2016)

Date: December 4th 2016
Venue: Academy, Manchester
Support: Cane Hill / Killswitch Engage


Back in 2005, Bullet For My Valentine released their debut album ‘The Poison’, a record that, put simply, catapulted them forward several ranks in the scenes of modern British metal, and has changed their lives ever since. As is the trend in recent years, to celebrate milestone releases and to also treat fans of those eras, the Welsh outfit are interchanging dates of their UK tour to hark back to this breakthrough release, and the nostalgia tonight is very much present.

Still fresh faced, but very much drawing in some noteworthy hype throughout the past couple of years, Louisiana’s Cane Hill [5] are very much what you see is what you get. Reeking of early era Korn, and the odd splash of Rob Zombie and Alice In Chains in places, the likes of ‘Timebomb’ and ‘(The New) Jesus’ showcase the band’s influences clear on their sleeves, and as a result sit comfortably with the slightly older than normal BFMV crowd tonight, despite most requests for the crowd to give more energy falling on deaf ears. It probably doesn’t help when frontman Elijah Witt asks for the crowd to stab each other up, even with its obvious just-to-shock intent.

Killswitch Engage [9] are absolute seasoned veterans at this game now, holding a career even longer than the night’s headliners, and it’s almost impossible to think of a time when the Massachusetts favourites won’t be exceptional at making you headbang uncontrollably. Live favourites ‘My Curse’ and ‘The End Of Heartache’ seem to sound more and more collassal each time they play it, and how the crowd erupt and their voices soar during ‘My Last Serenade’ is borderline magical. Newer cuts ‘Until The Day’ and ‘Strength Of The Mind’ aren’t far from reaching that status too. Few bands in metal are as monsterous and majestic as Killswitch Engage are when they’re at the top of their game, and they won’t be moving from that spot anytime soon.

Even when it’s your own headline set, and one to celebrate the anniversary of a record, it’s hard to top pros like Killswitch Engage. Bravely, Bullet For My Valentine [7] step up confidently to the plate, and from the moment the first notes of the intro into ‘Her Voice Resides’ begins, the hour that follows is a full hark back to the decade that saw the band build the foundation of their career. ‘Tears Don’t Fall’ sees the room in a flush of emotion, ‘4 Words (To Choke Upon)’ and ‘Hit The Floor’ both seem to have non-stop mosh pits in motion, and ‘Cries In Vain’ and ‘All These Things I Hate (Revolve Around Me)’ both bring somewhat breathers and a wistfulness tinge to an evening brimming with sentimentality, depsite the odd intermittent sound cut-out that seems to plague the set from more or less its beginning.

Once ‘The Poison’‘s curtain closer, the aptly titled ‘The End’, brings its celebration to… well, an end, a short encore of some select more recent cuts follows. It’s hard to not throw up your devil horns for songs like ‘Waking The Demon’ and ‘Your Betrayal’, but this move straight after a set of ‘The Poison’ acts as a double-edged sword. For arguably a large portion of the crowd, that debut record may be one of, if not the only BFMV album that they return to. At one moment, frontman Matt Tuck confesses “these shows are the best thing we have ever done”, so maybe this return-to-roots tour may respark a fire that has for some shrunk over the years.

Either way, ‘The Poison’ will remain a classic in modern British metal, and if nothing else this celebratory tour has only reinforced its relevance and importance to the scene as it is today. Thank you, BFMV.

Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)