Sound — 6
Fever is an album where I think that BFMV drastically changed. They were not 'evolving' the way some said they were with Scream Aim Fire. Don Gilmore has made a serious change to BFMV, and it doesn't sound like them in some places. On 'Pleasure and Pain' and 'Breaking Out, Breaking Down', you can hear some very Linkin Park/Good Charlotte type of arrangements, and sound. In some cases, if Linkin Park had a better guitarist, then they would sound very similar to BFMV on Fever. However, on the upside, the music sounds pretty good, but not what I expected. Padge's monsterous solos have disappeared, replaced with slower, melodic stuff that doesn't have the same in-your-face quality that songs like 'Hand of Blood' and 'Waking the Demon' have. In some places, the intros and basic guitar parts don't even sound like they work together. On 'A Place Where You Belong', the acoustic/clean intro makes you think of 'Hearts Burst Into Fire', but then you hear notes that don't seem to fit at all, and I actually cringed when I first heard it. It grows on you, but first impressions didn't do to well for me.
Lyrics — 6
In the lyrics of Fever, there were really no surprises. The quality of the lyrics got a little better, but not extraordinarily better. Matt(and actually metal writers in general) writes his lyrics better when he's writing about something deeper than women. The best lyrics on the album come from 'The Last Fight' and 'A Place Where You Belong', singing of drug addictions and suicide, respectively. The lyrics worked for the song most of the time, but a clear standout problem was the title track 'Fever'. A thrash metal song about a strip club? The lyrics didn't work for me at all on that track. They fit pretty much everywhere else. Matt can sing (in the studio--haven't heard him anywhere else), but he carries the same whiny punk-rock voice of blink-182 and Green Day.
Overall Impression — 8
Matt's comparisons between Fever and Metallica's Black Album are actually not that bad in his context. Both are very solid, simple, no frills albums. The problem is, that kind of album works for Metallica because that is their sound; heavy power chords, slow, consistant beat, etc. BFMV has established themselves as a much more fast-paced band, and it is not evident anywhere except 'Fever' and 'The Last Fight'. Second, Metallica backs up their solid heaviness with some pretty ridiculous solo work. BFMV can but does not on Fever, except on 'Alone'. The standouts on Fever are 'The Last Fight', 'Your Betrayal', and 'Alone'. Each song fits together beautifully. None of them compare to 'Waking the Demon', but are great in their own respects.