Sound — 5
It has been over two years since Welsh metalcore band 'Bullet for my Valentine' have had an album released and established in the UK and US charts - however, given the lengthy amount of time the band had to work with 'Fever', it still comes as very much the same package that listeners experienced with 'The Poison', but more so 'Scream, Aim, Fire'. Essentially, this album establishes the band's sound even further instead of taking their music in a progressive direction, which is arguably the downfall of the record. 'Fever' throws no surprises at the listener at all, but rather simply sticks to the well known formula that has gotten 'Bullet for my Valentine' so far up until present, except this time it begins to wear a little thin. The band don't seem to have come an awful long way since their last record - the song structures on 'Fever' still follow a very close replica of those heard on 'Scream, Aim, Fire', and the few that don't simply seem to fall into the category of 'filler songs' on this very confused and mixed up album. 'Fever's opening track, 'Your Betrayal', begins with an intro that any self respecting guitarist has heard a thousand times over, and sad to say, almost the whole album carries on this way - dry, overused chord progressions and unimaginative use of the two guitars let this track in particular down, but not as much as the lyrics and vocals do - the concepts and ideas behind 'Bullet's' lyrics seem to follow the same trend as their actual musical composition does - write, rinse and repeat. More on the lyrics later in the review. It is tracks such as 'Breaking Out, Breaking Down', 'Begging For Mercy' and 'Last Fight' that establish 'Fever' even further as a very predictable record in every sense of the word. Unfortunately, whilst the last two albums from this band have been very similar, neither have captured the energy and excitement that was clear throughout their dbut album, 'The Poison'. The tracks all seem to be very single layered, conceptually and musically, which is probably the only thing that has actually changed about 'Bullet' over the past few years, and quite frankly I'm sure I'm not alone in saying I miss how it used to be. The production on 'Fever' has to be questioned at times too, especially on tracks such as 'Alone' and title track 'Fever'. From my first few listens, the bass was practically unheard and the tone of the guitars is simply a clichd max-gain humbucker fest to epic proportions. It's issues like the mastering of the guitars and poor vocal recordings that makes 'Fever' suffer at times when it could have clearly pulled itself back into the domains of an above average album rather than a simple meltdown of everything we have heard before. The solos often seem weak and blurred - whether they lose their appeal through means of production or content, I'd say it's a mix of both. Nonetheless, disappointing guitar work on the whole. You'll hear the typical 'Bullet' harmonies and palm muted riffs on every track though, if that's your thing.
Lyrics — 2
Quite simply put, I found the lyrics to be very basic and lacking in every context you exam them in. Highlights include title track 'Fever' which fall short very badly, simply seeming to be explaining a fourteen year old's first experience at a house party. Whether this was the bands intention I don't know, but if it was they've hit the nail on the head. Bar a couple of tracks, all the songs on 'Fever' also seem to be about the exact same thing - either liking a girl and she doesn't want to know, or liking a girl who is bad news. (Ring any bells? Yep, you guessed it - just like their first two albums.) I must be beginning to sound like a broken record, but everything on this album we have literally heard before and it's extremely disappointing from a personal point of view. I like to see artistic progression - and if this is what you are looking for, then 'Bullet for my Valentine's' new album is not the place to find it. All lyrics are seemingly blunt and to the point, but to an all new level. There are no clever uses of metaphors or simply even songs left to the listeners interpretation, but rather everything is made perfectly clear with the very bland writing technique that was used throughout 'Fever'. At times, (as mentioned before, especially on title track 'Fever') the lyrics are almost cringe worthy to listen to, so if you're into subtle messages cleverly explained through the means of poetry and song writing, you ain't gonna get it here.
Overall Impression — 5
Whilst I'm well aware I've been very negative about this album throughout the whole review, there are glimmers here that almost make 'Fever' more than just worthwhile, but a fair album. If you are a 'Bullet' fan and simply want more of what we've all heard in the past, you'll be in absolute bliss - this album was written for you. If, however, like me, you are looking for something slightly new and innovative from these Welsh rockers then you're going to be disappointed. As I mentioned before, there is still some appeal in 'Fever', albeit in small doses. 'Dignity' could almost sound like a track that didn't quite make it onto 'The Poison' - though like many of the songs on the album, poor lyrics and questionable production weaken the foundations of this stand out track. 'Bittersweet Memories' is reminiscent of 'Tears Don't Fall' at times, but never quite stands up next to the classic track that brought 'Bullet' onto the scene. In summary, 'Fever' is a very mediocre album at best. I realise I've written a lot of negative things in this review, but if I was to list the positives then there simply wouldn't be any point as I'm sure you've heard it all before with the previous two albums. Whilst parts of 'Fever' are enjoyable, it is safe to say that it doesn't equal 'Bullet for my Valentine's' past two works, and will not stand the test of time. There is fun to be had here for die hard fans, but for the rest of us, we can only hope for a more ambitious and innovative forth album.