Sound — 9
The important thing about this album is that it does not bear any resemblance to their previous record 'Scream, Aim, Fire' and has a little bit more in common with 'The Poison'. However it is a much more mature effort as I will go on and explain throughout the songs on the album. It features Matt Tuck showing why he is one of the most popular vocalists in this style of music and a band who are comfortable in their own skin, writing what they want. This is a very well produced album. Even the Bass, which often is the simplest of parts on a BMFV album is produced well and made to sound extremely heavy and good. The Guitars have great tone and the Drums sound genuinely powerful, perhaps some of the best sounding (not in terms of what is being played but production and mixing) drums I have heard on any record I have heard since starting to listen to guitar music.
Lyrics — 6
I have to say that the lyrics are not the strong point of this album. Some of them have the problem of following too many of the clich's set by bands that have influenced. While it works for the songs I would be hoping for a song which could have some double meanings, something to ponder on as opposed to something which (as happens a lot on this album) is immediately obvious and almost feels like it was the very last things that were thought about in the conception of this record.
Overall Impression — 8
First up there is 'Your Betrayal', the lead single in America. This is a relatively simple song in it's concept, with the march drum intro creating a mood almost similar to that of their first album 'The Poison'. The song stays simple, drop tune guitars, little bits of screaming and the haunting Whisper's of Matt Tuck in the verse. The second huge chorus gives way to the middle section which is different to most Bullet For My Valentine as it is not a traditional Guitar solo but the almost siren like vocal line over the top of the very heavy guitar shows a maturity in song writing which is not previously present. 'Fever' is more traditional Bullet For My Valentine, a raucous drop C tuned metal number about a night in a club. It's not the fastest song on the album but in the way it is the one with possibly the most raw attitude. The highlight of this song is the vocal harmonies which sort of add to the almost sleezy element. 'The Last Fight' was the first glimpse the UK got of this album as it was the lead single. It's a driving number featuring the album's first guitar solo from Padge. It's also my personal favourite vocal performance as it features good singing as well as the shouting elements in the chorus. This is another very mature song. On an aside note about this song, the video is simple but very cool. 'A Place Where You Belong' is a similar sort of song to 'All These Things I Hate' off their first album. A softer song with heavier bits and pieces, a stereotypical sort of Metal ballad. It's almost quite a boring song until the guitar solo happens when the song picks up. 'Pleasure And Pain' is much more like it. The opening lyric of 'Come take the sacrifice' allied to a powerful opening riff make the song's opening full of impact. The rest of the song continues in a similar vein, making it one of the most intense songs on the record. Although my favourite bit happens just before the last chorus with the quiet yet tortured sounding line "You don't want, to know the truth". 'Alone' starts with the massive tapped guitar pattern and chord sequence which is almost similar to the way 'Your Betrayal' began. The synths in the verse and the string parts in the chorus give this song a real sense of occasion. It's also a catchy number with the guitar solos being at first based on simple melodies and modulating back into the D minor of the chorus. However the occasion is brought to a crashing finale with the slowing down of the intro to crawling pace almost like the epic ending to a film or (as this song possibly should have been) a massive closing track of an album. 'Breaking Out, Breaking Down' has quite a lot to live up to consider what preceded it on the record. It is one ofthe least heavy songs on the album as a whole but it features very good harmonised vocals in the pre-chours and chorus in particular. However the rest of it is quite nice but nothing else really standing out until the 2nd half of the bridge, which is almost painfully simple but effective. 'Bittersweet Memories' is a track that is simple in method and execution. It's a ballad about love gone wrong. This song isn't about one particular bit, rather the overall effect, which is profound for the type of song it is. If this isn't a single I will chop of my middle toe on my left foot and eat it. 'Dignity' is a true hark back to the musical styles utilised more on the first record. The totally harmonised opening riff brings back memories of songs like 'Suffocating Under Words of Sorrow'. It is a bit of a middle finger this song, perhaps not the most mature of lyrics either but what makes this song truly majestic is the tightness of the music allied with the melodies in the voice, particularly in the chorus. Another good thing is well sorted mixture of the Screaming and Singing. This is really by far the best song on the album. 'Begging For Mercy' is quite the beast. The heaviest song on the album after the opener. It is a song which features massive riffs and a very, very clever final chorus. However the chorus could be seen as a bit similar to 'Fever' and 'Pleasure and Pain' but I disagree and see this track as being almost monstrously heavy. 'Pretty On The Outside' is a grooving 6/8 animal featuring the least amount of cleanly sung vocals on the whole album. This song also features (in my view) the best lyrics as I believe everyone knows at least one person somewhat like this and they want to know the person better, to see if a person is quite what they seem, so this song really connected to me personally. This album I would give around an 8/10. It is a good record, very mature musically with some very nice playing by all concerned and some mostly very good singing. However what the album falls down on is perhaps the more ballad type songs being no-where near as strong as songs like Dignity, The Last Fight, Your Betrayal and Alone which are the 4 best tracks. As mature and un-emo as it is, it is not a good a record overall as The Poison, their first album.