Artist :: Bullet For My Valentine
Album :: Scream Aim Fire
Label :: Jive
In a word :: Powerful.
Play this cut first :: Take It Out On Me
Rewind to the early '90s, considered by most to be the pinnacle of metal, with the heavyweights like Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, Pantera, Testament, and Sepultura all putting out career-defining CDs one after another. It was ridiculous. Just when you thought no one could ever equal one band's release another would come along and do it.
There is a new batch of metal bands that have emerged during the last few years who are maturing nicely and putting out their best releases to date. After stoopid-good albums from Atreyu and Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet For My Valentine steps up to the plate with their sophomore effort Scream Aim Fire, and they hit it out of the park. Hell, they damn near hit it out of the stadium.
Yes, 2008 is shaping up to be The Year of The Bullet. With a main stage slot on the Taste of Chaos tour (as part of the best TOC lineup ever), their own comic books, a huge fan base, and some major label support, I'm guessing that you'll be hearing a lot of Bullet For My Valentine this year. And that, friends, is a good thing.
Actually, it's a great thing.
On Scream Aim Fire, Bullet For My Valentine makes a huge leap from 2006's The Poison. It's a leap that is reminiscent of the leap Metallica made between Kill 'Em All and Ride The Lightening. Matt Tuck's voice even sounds like a young James Hetfield's. Often, when bands say they have matured, it usually means they have slowed down. In this case, however, Bullet For My Valentine has matured in all directions. The riffs are harder. The harmonies are smarter. The solos are more blazing. The vocal melodies are more memorable.
The common element across all of the songs on Scream Aim Fire, however, is a sense of urgency. It's that urgency of drumsticks pounding drum skins, instead of just hitting them. It's the sound of guitar picks digging into strings, instead of just plucking them. It's the growl in a vocal that lets you know every word that is sung is the most important word in the world at that moment. It's the ability to find the heart of the song and put it right in your face. And it's this sense of urgency that separates the great from the good.
On cuts like "Scream Aim Fire" and "Eye of the Storm", it's made very clear that Bullet For My Valentine's first priority for this record is to establish that, when it comes to metal, they are the sonic equivalent of a nail bomb, both explosive and razor sharp. The same spirit is reinforced across the majority of the album in cuts like "Waking the Demon" and "End of Days".
The next goal for Scream Aim Fire seems to be establishing a true musical range, by slowing things down to ballad-like levels at times. Indeed, "Say Goodnight" seems to fit nicely with some of the more notable metal ballads of all time like Metallica's "Fade to Black" or Testament's "Return to Serenity".
The effect of convincingly achieving these goals is the building of a set list that is primed for arenas. In fact, "Take It Out On Me" covers so much sonic territory that, in a live show, it'll have fans banging their heads, clapping their hands, singing along, and banging their heads again. For that song alone, this CD is worth the investment.
In a musical landscape where major labels and iPods force emphasis on singles, it is becoming more and more rare to find an album that shines from top to bottom. Scream Aim Fire does that--so much so that when the last song finishes, your first instinct is to start it over from the beginning. When's that last time a CD made you do that?
Yeah, it's like that.
The Bottom Line :: Get ready to start pumping your fist again. Get ready to headbang in traffic. And get ready to sing along at the top of your lungs. The release of Scream Aim Fire rings in The Year of the Bullet. And it looks like it's going to be a one hell of a year for the band.
Best Cuts :: Take it out on Me, Scream Aim Fire, Waking the Demon, Say Goodnight
Friday, January 25, 2008
Artist :: Bullet For My Valentine