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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Bullet For My Valentine

Scream Aim Fire

Review by Travis Jensen

Hailing from Bridgend, Wales, Bullet for My Valentine isn’t your typical British band. They really aren’t your typical United States band either, as far as that goes. They have been coined as a “metalcore” band, but with so many influences and diversity in the music that they play, it is very hard to pinpoint any particular group or style. The band formed in 2003 and soon released their debut album titled "The Poison" in 2005 under a five record deal with the Sony BMG label which sold successfully in the U.S. and abroad. Scream Aim Fire is the newest LP released just this January, which entered the Billboard 200 at number 4. They recently filmed a video which is just one of seven for the title track "Scream Aim Fire" this last November. It can be seen on YouTube and MySpace. I highly recommend watching it! They will be on a North American tour in venues such as the Taste of Chaos tour with bands such as Atreyu, Idiot Pilot, Blessthefall and Avenged Sevenfold. They will also be performing at Rock am Ring and Rock im Park and the Download Festival in June 2008. Check out your local ticket vendors for tickets. The band has had several feature interviews and has graced the covers of many music and metal magazines, and they've just begun to scratch the surface of what is yet to come from such a talented clan of thrashers.

The B.F.M.V. line-up consists of Matt Tuck on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Michael Paget on lead guitar and backing vocals, Jason James on bass and backing vocals and Michael Thomas on drums. This commanding foursome has an incredible stage presence which is evident in videos and live performances. They definitely have the hard-edged appeal, which is even more so enforced which their ear-splitting music. However, there are several songs that will surprise you and make you realize that these guys are extremely talented musically. They are, in my opinion, comparable to what Queensryche was to the metal scene of the late 1980’s.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Scream Aim Fire
This is the “All guns-a-blazing” song on this album, and rightfully so when wanting to make that great first impression. The first thing that goes through my mind when hearing this one is “How did they get so
damn tight?” This song is flawless musically and is simply amazing when you consider the level of perfection between each member coming together as a finely-tuned machine. The guitars on this one really grab your attention and hold it throughout the entire song. At this point in the album, I’m already hooked…let’s hear some more!
Eye of the Storm
They follow it up with another rocking tune! This is where you really become aware of the vocal talent. The harmonies are a solid foundation for the backbone of the song and the leads in the choruses are incredible. This is the true color of the band - black. There is also a ripping guitar solo to break up the fire that comes from the lungs of Matt Tuck.
Hearts Burst Into Fire
This is where the musical diversity of the band is evident. Sure, they are a metal band, but not your typical metal band as mentioned above. There are metal bands that delve into power ballads, but this song isn’t that at all. The intro is melodic, but not a predicable “love song” melody that bores you for four minutes. This one goes through more of an evolution where the melodies carry the weight of the tune, but the heaviness of the vocals and guitars are there to supplement it effectively.
Waking the Demon
This song is for the drummer in all of us. I know that double-bass has been used a thousand times, but as far as I’m concerned, it never gets old. When d.b. is used with the proper context of song as in this one, it is justified and necessary. Just give this one a listen a couple of times and you’ll see how this is different. The vocals and guitars are incorporated to match the drums and not just as a supplement as an alternating rhythm.
Disappear
Out of the many influences cited by B.F.M.V. is Pantera. I’m not here, however, to make any comparisons to what kind of vocalist Phil Anselmo once was, or what kind of guitar player the late, great Dimebag Darrell was, but a lot of those traits are evident here. The main line of vocals isn’t, of course, but the bridge vocals carry that intensity and style. The guitars with these guys are definitely more polished and fluid, but the riff style can be heard and recognized as something beyond just a phenomenal guitar player.
Deliver Us From Evil
This is the only song that I’m sort of on the fence with. First, let me start off with what I like; the title and the chorus. There are several harmonies and changes with the vocals in these areas. What I don’t like too much is the verses, which seem a little too watered-down and monotonous for what I like to call “mainstream metal." which is what you might hear on an alternative radio station. However, every band has to have a couple of those songs to get radio play for promoting their record, of course, and this just might be that particular song. But I want you to listen to it and form your own conclusion, which may be different from mine.
Take it Out on Me (Feat. Benji Webbe of Skindred)
This song makes up slightly for the last one, but still possesses some of those same qualities. I think what it is, is the vocals where there is a Mike Patten (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, Maldoror, etc.) sound to it. I particularly like the heavier sound to the vocals, but how can there be diversity to the singing if it all sounds the same, right? There is a long melodic guitar break towards the middle of the song that progresses into something more meaningful and majestic. It then ends with the power that was evident in the first several songs, which is where the credibility of the group is reinforced.
Say Goodnight
This tune is the pinnacle of the album in my opinion. Every band has an anthem that marks them to  long-time fans as the years and consecutive albums go by…this could be that song for these guys. It has a deep, heavy, almost gothic appeal to it that reminds me of something from early Black Sabbath. What I particularly like about this track is that about halfway through it, wham - you're hit in the jaw with the blast of vocals that carries you through the rest of a dominant song.
End of Days
This has a very cool opening riff! It also features an exciting rhythm throughout the entire song. This one is probably my favorite of the entire album - the vocal variations, as well as the drums and bass guitar work very well to make it a very hard-hitting number. The ending is a triumphant conclusion to a very well-written tune. This one could compete with "Scream Aim Fire" to be the first song on the album.
Last To Know
The guitars are working overtime with this killer tune. There is a slight distortion with the leads which give this one more of a “raw edge” to it, which is what most early metal tunes were founded on. This is a nice change in the album because it  again gives us more variety with the music. The guitars are also matched effectively with the scorching vocals that seem to become more of a dominant force as they alternate with the lead vocals, giving the song something that any metal-head can enjoy.
Forever and Always
This song is a great conclusion to this album, as it shows us how a heavy-based band can express itself musically through rhythm and melody. It is in that zone where every song doesn’t have to be a neck-breaker; almost as if it seems as though the entire album is one forty minute song of screaming and thrashing. It's definitely not the case here. Although there are a few lingering guitar parts that seem a little watered down, get your lighters out for this one at a live show.
 
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