Sound — 4
Bullet For My Valentine's rise to the top has been rather impressive. They started as a quasi-metalcore outfit in rural Wales many years ago, built a following, injected a thrash edge on 2008's "Scream Aim Fire" and eventually found their stride as serviceable metal hitmakers who play to thousands every night. They've shown sharp songwriting in fits and starts but never made an LP of real quality. Nonetheless, in a few instances over the years they've offered some explanation as to why they're one of the most popular names from the new stock of British metal bands. No such luck here. "Temper Temper" is a toothless, unimaginative bore of an album with all the character of a paper plate. Couldn't say it's a great deal heavier, either.
All the pieces are in place for a commercial metal album surging opener "Breaking Point", stomping lead single "Temper Temper", heart-wrenching follow-up "P.O.W." and rocking party anthem "Riot". Melodic vocals with the odd scream, chuggy riffs with a few old-school ones, peaks and troughs in all the usual places. It ticks all the boxes but unfortunately it seems as if those boxes came straight out of a page from Metal for Beginners and the band's creative ambition didn't stretch any further than that.
Writing it off entirely would be unfair; "Livin' Life" is an effective and enjoyable return to their older sound, the soloing shines on highlight "Dead To The World", and there are bits and pieces of good riffing or vocal writing scattered about elsewhere. Nothing to write home about, though, for anyone who's heard this stuff done before.
Lyrics — 3
We get some attitude in the lyrics though; boy, do we get some attitude. It's hard to believe frontman Matt Tuck turned 33 this year because at times his lyrics read like the diary of a 13 year-old Pantera fan with ADHD. An impressive total of 5 songs are about getting really angry, and three of them warn the listener not to push his buttons, or else. He doesn't mention locking himself in his room or refusing to eat his greens but the threat is implicit. When he's not strutting his stuff on the playground, Matt's got a bone to pick with a lady friend. "Tears Don't Fall (Part 2)" is a thematic reprise of their 2006 hit, but 7 years hasn't done much to help his articulation. The quality on offer across the album is best illustrated with a selection of quotes:
"Run mother--ker, it's time to hide, go bury yourself in a grave of lies."
"That's headache taste on the tip of my tongue."
"Your invitation... IT DOESN'T EXIST."
Because of lyrics like these, even the brighter musical moments struggle to get off the ground. It's a real shame.
Overall Impression — 4
Maybe I'm being harsh here. Besides the lack of bottom end the thing is slickly produced and, although predictable, the songs are nice enough. But that's the problem; even at the more commercial end of the metal spectrum there can't be too much room for 'nice' and that's exactly what "Temper Temper" is despite its best efforts. Difficult to recommend with any enthusiasm.