Sound — 7
After earning Kerrang's Best British Newcomer in 2005 and impressing audiences with their Maiden-influenced body of work, Bullet For My Valentine has returned with it's latest collection of riff-heavy metal tracks, Scream Aim Fire. Vocalist/guitarist Matthew Tuck mentioned in a Revolver interview that the new record would be a lot more up tempo, a lot more aggressive, which actually isn't necessarily true when you hear the finished product. It's not to say that Scream Aim Fire takes a step backward in the aggression department, but it certainly won't shock any fans either. When it comes down to it, 2 of the best tracks could easily be described as ballads more than anything.
For fans of the dual guitar magic between Tuck and Michael Paget, don't worry. Each song features beautifully executed riffs and there are solos galore. The opening title track Scream Aim Fire is solid example, with everything from a driving intro to some killer pinch harmonics midway through. It does get a bit repetitive, however, and that seems to be a theme for the record. For as many comparisons people make to Metallica, Hetfield and the boys usually had a way of taking the songs into new, interesting directions. You don't need to do that with every song, but BFMV needed to add a little more variety into the some of the tracks.
The most aggressive tracks aren't what make the biggest impression on Scream Aim Fire. Say Goodnight could easily be the best tune on the album, with a clean, stripped-down intro and unaffected vocals delivered by Tuck. It's not an acoustic track by any means and does feature guitar solos (not to mention screams at one point), Say Goodnight has a gorgeous melody that comes through immediately. By the end of the song the band does revert to their screaming metal side, which was actually completely unnecessary. While it might satisfy the fans that get antsy whenever the tempo slows down, Say Goodnight is at it's strongest when it does get a little sentimental.
Scream Aim Fire is a good album, but it really doesn't approach the memorable quality of the tracks on The Poison. The song that does stand out as being a suitable successor to Tears Don't Fall would be Waking The Demon. It has by far the best intro riff on the entire album and definitely lives up to the aggression that Tuck intended to create.
Lyrics — 7
The themes on Scream Aim Fire are often too familiar and don't break a lot of new ground. In the title track Tuck sings, Kill your enemies; My brothers dead around me wounds are hurting; Death is creeping for me; Smoke is lighting, hearts are pounding. In Eye Of The Storm and a few others there are similar themes of destruction, which would be cool if the band was able to put a new twist on it all. BFMV's lyrics aren't bad, but there are times they could have tried to inject a little something new into topics like death or pain.
Overall Impression — 7
While the guitar skills of Tuck and Paget are as impressive as ever, the songwriting doesn't seem quite as original as it did on The Poison. The band shouldn't be afraid of taking a risk by doing acoustics, ballads, or mellower tracks like Say Goodnight or Forever And Always because they are unexpectedly some of the best tracks on Scream Aim Fire. That may be ruining the whole brutal metal legacy they're going for, but even bands like Metallica, Megadeth, and even Pantera have embraced their softer side at one point or another.