Sound — 7
I loved Bullet since the beginning. Their self-titled EP was great. "The Posion" I saw as their masterpiece. But things took a turn when it got to "Scream Aim Fire" and many people agree with me that it was (with no disrespect here) a shoddy album of boring, over-polished material that was made merely to show people that they could make it to no. 4 and had no actual heart put into it. It changed my view on Bullet a lot. I hated them after that album. And when promos for songs off "Fever" emerged on YouTube, like "Begging For Mercy" and the Sonisphere video of "Who Do You Think You Are? (now "Pleasure & Pain") I was determined to think that the next album was going to be even worse. But then I decided to stop dwelling on my hatred for this band and actually give them a listen without cringing and claiming they'd sold out. And thankfully I wasn't cringing anymore. More and more songs leaked onto the internet and the more I heard, the better I felt about this new album. I've always thought Bullet's sound was brilliant, always tight and nothing drowned out anything else. And the sound on "Fever" has carried on that trait. However, "Fever" is not without it's flaws. They've become a lot more simple musically in the way that the songs aren't as technical as they were on previous releases and a lot of the chord progressions we've all heard before. Like the dreaded '8th fret - 5th fret - open' in "Alone" that just won't vanish from the metalcore scene. Bullet have repeated themselves riff-wise on this album a lot, as well as ripping off many Killswitch riffs. For instance "Dignity" sounds like a mix of "Suffocating Under Words Of Sorrow" and "Tears Don't Fall". "The Last Fight" plays off as a copycat of "Scream Aim Fire", as did "Disappear" of the last album. And in one song ("A Place Where You Belong") they actually rob Opeth blind with the main riff for "Hope Leaves"! But my God, with Matt tucks ingenuity for great melodies and catchy hooks it doesn't really matter anymore. Now just for the sake of it, I'll do a track-by-track review, coz I've always wanted to do one. 01. "Your Betrayal": a great solid opening number. Yes, we've heard that same chord change in a million other songs but the pure catchiness of the chorus and the awesome oooooh aaaahhhh's behind the breakdown make this a dark, brooding song that I've aways wanted Bullet to make. 4.5/5 02. "Fever": I can tell this will become a crowd favourite. By far the most cheesy song Bullet have ever written, the song speaks about what I'm assuming is Matt Tuck seeing a girl at a gig he's playing and becoming sexually obsessed with her. Not something new to write about in the metal world and Matt's lyrics really are awful in this song, but an infectious chorus covers up some of it's flaws. 3/5 03. "The Last Fight": the first single that it already sweeping the nation. I hear people on the street talking about it all the time. It again takes the melodic thrash trait of "Scream Aim Fire" which is why a lot of people love it, but they've used the same thing so much it bores the hell out of me now. I think this is one of the worst tracks on the album as there's never really anything in the song that makes me want to keep listening to it. 2.5/5"A Place Where You Belong" - I absolutely adore this song, start to finish. It's perfect. The song comes crashing in after a beautiful clean section with Matt screaming "You're gone!". Again he writes of the death of a friend but there is so much passion in this song that it's impossible to not feel a little bit sad at some point. Incredibly catchy, a huge epic song, awesome lead work, perfect structure makes this one of the best on the album. 5/5 04. "Pleasure & Pain": "COME TAKE THIS SACRIFICE!" This is another thrashy song with melodies and hooks running all the way through. Musically it's kinda boring but again, Matt saves the day with his vocals, something that happens a lot throughout this album. 3.5/5 05. "Alone": again, I love this song. Even though the intro riff is over-used they throw some tapping over it to spice it up, give it a bit more variety. At least they're trying to make things a little different. This is one of the darker songs on the album that tells of someone dying and rotting alone for their past pretenses. Some lush duel guitar harmonies during the middle section and a pretty decent solo, and again Matt's vocal work make this another song that I've always thought would suit Bullet. And it does. 4.5/5 06. "Breaking Out, Breaking Down": this song reminds me so much of Maiden. I think it's the chorus. Cheesy as hell but still maintains some awesome 80's style riffage. The verses for me make this song awesome. The way they play a couple of power chords and stop for Matt to sing a little bit (similar to "Your Betrayal") obviously makes a good trademark for this band. And who could possibly resist the soaring bridge where Matt sings "Coz in the thick of darkened days, we know". Just gorgeous. 4/5 07. "Bittersweet Memories": love, love, love the verses. The way Matt takes a very croony style to the lyrics and throws it with the melody makes it so awesome. The chorus and such can be a little samy in the vein of "Forever & Always" which kinda takes a bit of the edge off it but this will most likely be a great song live and again a fan favourite. 3.5/5 08. "Dignity": this is an awesome little ditty. It mixes everything Bullet do well together. Some little thrashy parts, stop-and-start verses, a bit of grunted singing, duel harmony guitar work and a big wide-open chorus make this a pretty sick little number that'll definitely get you singing along and "moshing" too. 4/5 09. "Begging For Mercy": now this is the first song I heard from "Fever". At first I hated it. It was way too cheesy and the chorus almost sent me to sleep it was that boring. But over time I have learnt to love this song. Definitely one of the heaviest on the album and really has a punch that'll get the crowd going and some of the maturer listeners seeing a little bit of old Bullet in there. Always a good thing. 4.5/5 10. "Pretty On The Outside": this... is by far... the BEST song on "Fever". This song absolutely f*cking rules. The riff is a mix betwee "Ashes Of The Innocent" and KsE's "Reject Yourself" but all accusations of plagiarism are off on this account as this is probably the most badass song Bullet have ever made. The verses are just filled with awesomeness. Painful screams sound like Matt's actually going through what the narrator of the song is. The duel harmonies that Bullet do so well. The half time drum pace in the verse just makes me wanna pit it every time I hear it. Bridge is just a simple two chords, a stop and Matt sings "If... I..." and BOOM! into the chorus. "Tear you open wide, take a look inside, are you pretty?" Matt sings over the octaves and power chords. I'm not gonna say anymore as you just might as well listen to it. Albeit a different way to end an album it's pretty clever, coz it just makes you want more.
Lyrics — 5
One thing that struck me was how much better Matt's vocals sounded. In essence I believe they're probably the best part of the album. Matt obviously has a genius mind when it comes to writing hooks and such and even though this album has many flaws, the vocal work is what saves it. For instance, if it weren't for Matt's vocals Each song would probably end up going down half a star or more. The whole vocal harmonies is out-dated but I just don't know what it is, Matt makes the best vocal lines. I read that he was really pushed on this album as he said that with "Scream Aim Fire" they settled for whatever they came up with as he'd just recovered from laryngitis which is probably what made the album a little less... well, good. And he said that this time he just wanted to keep everything even simpler but Don Gilmore pushed him to not settle for any melody he came up with and I thank him so much for that because he and Matt have now perfected Bullet vocal-wise. Ya know sometimes you listen to a song and you don't like a certain melody in it so you hum over it the melody you thought would go best? Doesn't happen on this album. Everything is down to a T which is why I say it's probably the best part of the album, seeing as not all the guitar parts are great. Matt's screams are awesome now as he can control going from singing to a kind of grunt to a full on throatf*ck with ease. He's controlling his voice a lot more so in a way I'm "proud" of him. The lyrics, however, suck ass. He said in the interview on here that he loves writing about these little broken heart fiction tales that are really just getting on my nerves. A lot of people write about them, yes, it's not just Matt, but it's only because that kind of thing is easy to write about. A lot of people when writing lyrics put pen to paper and end up writing about some random, out of the blue love story. It just happens. But Matt doesn't think "I need to stop writing about this" he just goes with it which I think is really lazy. He should know more than just about romance, he's 30 for God's sake. Write about something else! Some examples of poor lyrics on this album are "Kill me now and let the good times roll", "You're what I need so come and get my money", "This finger's for our memories" and all the lyrics of the song "Fever". Honestly, they're awful. But it's not all that bad. Every now and then Matt says a really cool line like "I want you to choke when you swallow your pride" and "I'm not a saint that's easy to tell, but guess what honey, you ain't no angel" and "All the negativity forces me down into silence but still I can dream". They're not the best lyrics ever but they're just pretty cool. So singer skills are awesome but the lyrics really let it down so I'm gonna have to give it a 5.
Overall Impression — 8
In a way I think "Fever" is the bridge between "The Poison" and "Scream Aim Fire". It's a mixture of both albums. The cheesyness and simplicity of "Scream Aim Fire" but with the melodies and slight return to form of "The Poison". It's in no way a bad album. There are just bad points. But as I've said before, Matt's vocals and hooks, some decent guitar work and mixture of all sorts of different styles make this an album definitely worth buying, even if you don't like it much. It's very interesting, and as you can tell there is a lot to talk about when it comes to it. Better than "Scream Aim Fire", almost as good as "The Poison". And I'll leave it at that.