Bullet For My Valentine

Venom

Written by: PP on 14/11/2015 20:54:59

It's hard to believe Bullet For My Valentine are still a band. Few metalcore peers experienced such a meteoric rise to stardom as they did with critically acclaimed debut album "The Poison" and an almost instantaneous implosion in popularity on albums that followed. Matt Tuck losing his signature screaming capability played a huge part, of course, but the emo-driven metalcore expression of the band just hasn't aged very well at all over the years. And so the band tried to evolve on 2013's "Temper Temper" into a sleazy hard rock band akin to what Papa Roach did (albeit successfully) when nu-metal crashed and burned in the early 2000s, but that didn't work either. The record consisted of average and generic hard rock with lyricism so blatantly aimed at teenagers that anyone over the age of 18 would be embarrassed listening to that album at least on a regular basis.

And so with their fifth album "Venom", the band make a one hundred eighty degree turn and attempt to return to the glory of the old days with a record that's both heavier and a lot screamier than we've heard BFMV be ever since their debut album. Talk about a stylistically lost band, eh? After the ominous intro melodies of "V", the amount of ravaging screams and metalcore riffage almost make you feel like it's 2005 all over again and you're listening to the band at their prime. But that only lasts a moment before you realize that the band essentially sound like a caricature of themselves from their EP and debut album days. The song structures are contrived: "Worthless" is utilizing a classic mid-2000s metalcore clean/scream dynamic, but ends up sounding so dated it is difficult to take seriously. "You Want A Battle? (Here's A War)" takes a 'metal ballad' approach with gigantic gang chorals supporting the big chorus towards the end to create a dramatic, grandiose effect, but the cliché riddled lyricism and generic tapped guitar melodies have been heard so many times before in metalcore that they simply need to be better. In other words, the band sounds awfully derivative of the mid-2000s era of metalcore, which makes perfect sense considering it feels like they're trying to force another "The Poison" out of themselves.

However, in the midst of it all, a few bright spots exist. "Broken", for instance, showcases classic metalcore the way it was meant to be written with a massively infectious emo chorus that helps make the track the best one on "Venom". "Army Of Noise" starts with a classic "YEEEEEEAAAAAAAH" scream, and overall is a high tempo, thrashy affair that suggests BFMV have a few good tracks left up their sleeve. Sadly, these are contrasted with sappy, melancholic ballads like the title track that sound way too cheesy contrasting the heavier metalcore riffage found on tracks like "The Harder The Heart (The Harder It Breaks)", which is arguably the heaviest and most scream-laden track BFMV have written since their early days. "Skin", too, brings your mind to early days with solid riffs and much-improved vocals by Matt Tuck that no longer sound so melancholic and emo-driven. The chorus is catchy, too.

Throughout "Venom", BFMV are trying their best to rehash their best era. They are reasonably successful at recreating the 2005's metalcore sound, but the problem is that most of us have ten years of metalcore on our backs so it feels too little, too late. "Venom" sounds much more like the logical follow-up album to "The Poison" than "Scream Aim Fire" ever did, and as such it's arguably their second best album overall. It's just too bad it, like most other modern metalcore releases, sounds completely generic compared to the genre classics. Too little, too late.

Download: Broken, No Way Out, Skin, You Want A Battle? (Here's A War)
For the fans of: Avenged Sevenfold, Trivium, Glamour Of The Kill, Black Thoughts Bleeding
Listen: Facebook

Release date 14.08.2015
RCA Records

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