Bullet For My Valentine

Scream Aim Fire

Written by: AP on 13/02/2008 19:17:24

In days when everybody wants to be a rock star, compromise is also in exponential climb. I recall an interview sometime, in which Matt voiced his ambition as wanting to become the best band in the world. I guess he wasn’t kidding, because since the release of their critically acclaimed debut album, “The Poison”, not a soul in the alternative music scene could have avoided the phenomenon that became Bullet For My Valentine. Such instant success won them a record deal with Sony, which then bred main stage appearances at the largest festivals as well as a series of main support slots on high profile tours.

Now, touring with the likes of Iron Maiden and Guns ‘n Roses, poor Bullet For My Valentine couldn’t understand what was happening. Why were all these people booing at them? Sworn heavy metal fans wouldn’t swallow the emo-glazed metalcore Matt and his boys had on the menu because it was so modern and so trendy. But not to worry: Matt had a solution. Instead of regarding the aging metal heads with blind eyes and deaf ears, Matt thought he’d change the band to cater to them and abandon its former ideology in favor of a new arena sound. Behold, the manifestation of megalomania and greed: Bullet For My Valentine reborn.

Without further a due, let me go ahead and declare “Scream Aim Fire” a failure of spectacular proportions. Not that it’s surprising or unexpected, because after all, the release of some exclusive new tracks on the “Tears Don’t Fall” single spelt out a recipe for disaster. This was a conscious, financially motivated decision, taken to sell as many records as possible to as many different audiences as possible and receive airplay at the cost of everything the band used to stand for. There’s just one problem: the mass public isn’t going to buy this (it may well do in the literal sense, but certainly not in the proverbial sense).

First of all, “Scream Aim Fire” fails miserably in the lyrical department. Heartfelt anthems stemming from personal experiences have been exchanged with political bullshit and epic battles; it is with amused disbelief that one wonders how Matt can write this stuff and expect to be taken seriously. Granted, lyrics never were the strength of this band, but even so, the omission of the one thing that gave them credibility – honesty – is still a regression. Indeed, there isn’t much progression here besides musicianship that manifests itself in grandiose solos and extremely solid riffs.

What purpose does it serve then to reduce the once aggressive vocals to howling that sounds like an adolescent James Hetfield? A quick glance at the album art will explain. Bullet For My Valentine has shed all evidence of a metalcore past to create the illusion of a matured band. Well, almost. One song connects them to the crime. Not surprisingly, it is the one song I am prepared to recommend from this album though I suspect it stands no chance against the other ten, Wembley-wanking giants when the time comes for picking a live set.

Am I the only one that begins to see a pattern here? First it was Avenged Sevenfold – though they pulled it off at first, possibly because they actually look and always have looked like rock stars – then Trivium – though their progression was logical and well executed – and now Bullet For My Valentine. Believe me, I’d like to be able to say something positive about “Scream Aim Fire”, but even the production has unexpectedly failed. The rhythm section has been disguised under prevalent guitars and an all-encompassing vocal – the cornerstones of that arena sound Bullet For My Valentine is so avidly pursuing.

I’ll be damned if Bullet For My Valentine ever headlines a stadium sized venue. That takes more than a loose attempt at shamelessly idolizing your favorite bands and then injecting small bits of screaming here and there so as to pretend like you’re doing your own thing. The fans of Iron Maiden and Guns ‘n Roses will still hate it, but now the old, dedicated flock of scenesters will hate it, too. Alas, as predicted, another giant takes a fall. But let this be a warning rather than an example.


Download: Last To Know

For the fans of: Atreyu, Avenged Sevenfold, Trivium

Listen: Myspace

Buy: iTunes

Release date 29.01.2008


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