Gig Review: Bullet for My Valentine


Alhambra Theatre 11/10/15

By Fraser Bryce


The situation Bullet For My Valentine have found themselves in is a tricky one. While they were once a band that could pack out arenas and were even touted as being future festival headliners, they now find themselves doing a tour of small theatres, many of which have not sold out. This misfortune can be traced back to 2013’s ‘Temper Temper’, an album which was panned by fans and critics alike. If you want to know what it’s like to listen to ‘Temper Temper’, just pour some cold sick into your ears.

Thankfully, the new album ‘Venom’ is an absolute masterclass, which, with any luck, will put the band back on track. But, until then, they’ll have to get by on what they do best – positively epic live shows. Yes, it may surprise some of you to know that, in a live environment, BFMV put on one hell of a gig. Naturally, since the Alhambra is a far cry from the venues the band usually find themselves in, the production has been stripped back from the usual apocalyptic barrage of flames and explosions to some amps and a curtain. However, even without the bells and whistles, Bullet still deliver in spades.

In keeping with the spirit of ‘Venom’, Bullet have ditched the arena rock ballads and more radio friendly material in favour of the raging anthems that made them special in the first place. A ferocious one-two opener of ‘No Way Out’ and ‘4 Words To Choke Upon’ set the pace for the evening, and it rarely lets up. The set focuses mainly on ‘Venom’ and the now 10 year old debut ‘The Poison’, with the material from the former sounding just as good as the latter, if not better. While it’s good to hear songs like ‘The Poison’ and ‘Tears Don’t Fall’, tonight they pale in comparison to the lurching, snarling monster that is ‘Worthless’, or the Slayer-eqsue speed metal of ‘Army Of Noise’. Even the single ‘You Want A Battle? (Here’s A War)’ sounds so massive that when the riff initially kicks in I let out an involuntary “fucking hell!” ‘Venom’ drops the pace slightly but, seeing as it is one of the best songs the band have ever written, I’ll let it slide, and I can never complain about the likes of ‘Scream, Aim, Fire’ and ‘Alone’.

However, there are a few moments when Bullet let themselves down, namely the half acoustic version of ‘The Last Fight’ and the frankly pointless guitar solo. It’s not that Michael Paget isn’t a great guitar player, it’s just that he literally has a guitar solo in every song. And don’t get me started on the slowed down version of ‘The Last Fight’. Why? Just why? Also, while Matt Tuck’s voice has drastically improved since the last tour, he still turns a large amount of the harsh vocals over to bassist Jamie Mathias. Still, at least they’ve ditched those godawful backing tapes.

Thankfully, Bullet swiftly get themselves back on track with a final run of songs that includes the aforementioned ‘Tears Don’t Fall’ and the rarely aired ‘Hand Of Blood’, and the encore of ‘Your Betrayal’ and ‘Waking The Demon’ rounds the evening off perfectly.

So, despite the fact that the band have now found themselves in smaller venues, Bullet are still a force to be reckoned with. And, it must be said, comparing this gig to the two I saw on the ‘Temper Temper’ tour, it’s like watching a different band. Just a few years ago, the band looked bored, and relied heavily on backing tracks and more accessible material. Now, they are a band anew. They have clearly realised that out and out metal is their true calling, not half-arsed arena rock. If they keep this up, Bullet will be back on top soon enough.} else {