I like to think that I keep an open mind towards all kinds of Metal music. I like to take into context the way an album is made or under what circumstances a band records the way it does and for what goal. And for the most part this has allowed me to enjoy many different bands and genres. But when I first heard BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE’s latest disc, “Scream Aim Fire”, I was awestruck. And not in the good way.
It’s hard for me to comprehend what the band was thinking when they wrote and recorded this latest slab of radio ready ‘Metal’. BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE has a lot of talent in its ranks. Both guitarists and their rhythm section are all quite skilled at their instruments and yet they continue to write and perform mediocre material. Their first album may not have been my cup of tea but they had somewhat of their own vibe. Now what could they possibly be doing trying to write a Thrash Metal album?
“Scream Aim Fire” takes what BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE did on their first release, “The Poison” and adds in Thrash Metal riffs and some speedier elements to try and create an edgier take on their sound. I’m all for bands throwing in some Thrash to spice up their music. But what BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE writes isn’t Thrash. It’s Metal. But barely.
So how could all these good musicians miss the mark on writing a Metal album? It’s not that the music isn’t Metal or Thrash at all. In fact, BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE hits all the right marks. Thrash riffs, shredding solos, speedy drum sections, and a foundation of bass can all be found on the album. But it’s almost as if the band was just trying to copy Metal instead of playing it. It feels as if there is no heart to the matter. Each song plays through and I felt nothing. None of the exhilaration that I feel when I listen to EXODUS or IRON MAIDEN. It feels as though the band plays for the sake of being cool rather than for the love of it.
Musically, all the instruments are pretty much on the mark – possibly too well. Much of the album has an initial and overall fake feeling to it. Over produced and over thought, “Scream Aim Fire” is about as raw as a charred burger. Hell, Matt Tuck’s vocals are digital enough to even make Timbaland proud. It sounds as though Tuck’s vocals have been processed through so many computers that no true emotion remains in the somewhat cliché lyrical content.
This album kind of makes me feel bad. These guys are talented at performing and they tour nonstop but this album shows none of that. Just like the lastest TRIVIUM effort, “Scream Aim Fire” has no balls and none of the energy that makes a great Metal record. The best I can say is that I hope many of BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE’s fans move on deeper into the Metal world and find out what it truly is all about.
(Online March 22, 2008)