Sound — 8
I have been a massive fan of Bullet For My Valentine for many years now, they were one of the first Heavy Metal bands I was introduced to and I have had the privilege of seeing them live a number of times. Matt's voice, despite having had problems, performance-wise, in the past, is on top form with James harmonizing beautifully throughout the CD while also delivering the harsh vocals that have made BFMV so recognizable. The guitar work on the album is spot-on and another signature BFMV trait. Melodic solos along with Padge's shredding techniques makes the new album a powerfully guitar riddled album. Padge's approach to soloing at first appears slightly different from the other BFMV albums however is not difficult to get used to. A mixture of new techniques as well as a lot of more irregular tempos adds the variety that makes this album so different from the others. Guitar riff fanatics will not be disappointed with this album as they are thrown into the technical ecstasy of listening to the opening riffs of songs such as "Truth Hurts" and "Dirty Little Secret". Bullet even throw in some powerful semi-ballads with songs such as "Dead To The World" and (arguably) "P.O.W." where a familiar Bullet style of more ballad seeps through with emotion and gets the sing-out-loud aspect that many music lovers crave for. Moose's playing style on this album is as tight as on all the other albums playing perfectly tight rhythmic grooves. Especially with the like of songs like Leech where a mixture of underlying bass lines and more groove tom-tom orientated drum beats makes the song the more of the "Party Song" that BFMV intended, mentioned in their track-by-track interview with Metal Hammer. This may be criticized as one of the bands pitfalls with this album as many Bullet fans have been caught off guard with the slight change in style. It is true that this album was probably anticipated to be a lot heavier and a lot of high expectations where held for songs like "Tears Don't Fall Part 2". BFMV can be seen to have let their fans down on that aspect by delivering an album that misses the razor-sharp, gritty and incredibly powerful aspect that seemed to be delivered in copious amounts on their previous albums.
Lyrics — 9
Matt Tuck and Jason James have always caught me in a state of awe as the two deliver amazing vocal lines. Tuck suffered vocal difficulties a number of years before however as in live performances where this is more evident, the album is pitch perfect and the lyrical content is as powerful as any other Bullet For My Valentine. Lyrical content in this album is a lot darker and powerful and as we are thrown into the opening track "Breaking Point" with the typical BFMV feel we've been anticipating from the new album. Tinted with bloody yet romantic implications and constant reference to poison and anger is, in my opinion, what BFMV has always been, is and will always be about. "Breaking Point" is filled with violence and blood and the vocal delivery of each line is as gritty and powerful as old Bullet songs like "Fever", "Your Betrayal" and "Room 409" (delivered with slightly less hatred and power as "Room 409"). The slight absence of screaming is more noticeable in the following two tracks as "Temper Temper" delivers very similar violent imagery (which could be slightly monotonous) while "Truth Hurts" talks of the danger of Drink and Drugs. Suicidal connotations makes the song very heart felt and emotional as well as having the eerie vocals during the bridge and the perfect harmonization from Jay during the chorus makes the song recognizably one of my favourites. The song according to Bullet was mostly written or created by Padge and intended to look at personal habits and how while some things you may do "might not be cool" but you accept as a character flaw. "Truth Hurts" acts as one of those great songs that could reflect anything really and the sentiment involved could change with person. "P.O.W." defies the rules of Metal while remaining true to the BMFV fell. While tempos, chord changes and melodies may not be true to the Metal genre BFMV find a way to make it work. "Dirty Little Secret" is an instant great song that can be pictured being a fan favorite for live performances. The song instantly shows BFMV traits with all the sexy connotations and brings back the era of the "Poison" album where sexual and romantic metal really worked for the band. "Leech" is an instant dark lyrical song and talks of Bullet's hatred towards the annoying people in life who "latch" onto the band much like a leech. Lyrical contents within this song are the more dark and powerful and if it were to be criticized the thing to be said about the song is how such dark lyrics can contrast against much lighter musical backing. "Dead To The World" is one of the most powerful song on the Album and is the first collaboration since Benji's (Skindred) appearance on "Take It Out" (as far as I can remember this is the second BFMV collaboration but don't quote me on that (if anyone can think of any others please feel free to comment)). Chris Jericho of Fozzy co-wrote this powerfully complex song vocally and musically. Tuck claims Jericho helped in creating meaning in a song as they began struggling after having written twelve songs. "Riot", a song pre-released before the actual albums released, has, after several listening, never gotten old in my head. A powerfully delivered song and a clear future live favorite. "Saints And Sinners" is a more meaningful song with a powerful morale that reinforces the Carpe Diem ideology and has a definite Metallica ring to it. "Tears Don't Fall Part 2", a definite widely anticipated song by the fans who helped create the song in the Facebook poll that decided on which song to remake as a part 2. Lyrically the song reflects on its predecessor, even with a number of identical lines or ideological themes. As to whether the song became successful or not... only time will tell. The final song, "Livin' Life On The Edge Of A Knife" is a pretty self-explanatory song, lyrically as well as musically. One of the heaviest riffs can be heard on this song and an anecdote Tuck tells on his Track-By-Track interview is how the song was written quickly on a relaxed beer-infected day in-between recording sessions which can be reflected in the song by the simplistic, yet heavy and powerful, musical content. The two live bonus tracks on the special edition where highlights that swayed me into pre-ordering the album (signed I'm also proud to add) and while BFMV are well known for Matt's vocals especially after his throat problem which left him, not note-for-note perfect but still pretty amazing, the live tracks are bound to excite people who have seen the band live before. "Whole Lotta Rosie" an AC/DC cover being the most unusual choice, actually turned out to be the better of the two live songs bringing the special BFMV sound to an AC/DC rock'n'roll song. "Scream Aim Fire" live is equally as powerful capturing the power of BFMV's energy onstage.
Overall Impression — 8
The album may not have lived up to the expectation of the fans however it is hard to find flaws in its powerful lyrical and technical content. While the album is not the heaviest of BFMV's work it is still one of the best, in my opinion. Of course this differs in everyone's opinion as I've seen in many other reviews who have criticized the album thoroughly, I, on the other hand, cannot find much fault in this musical masterpiece. The major flaw I found within the album was "Tears Don't Fall Part 2". The song didn't quite live up to my expectations musically. Lyrically the song hit my high expectations however after a heavy "Part 1" I felt the newest addition to BFMV's set list lacked in the power and grit of "Tears Don't Fall Part 1". "Dead To The World" was definitely a major highlight of the album with powerful guitar solos and lyrical emotion. While the album was criticized hugely in other reviews I find it hard to criticize the album being such a big fan of BFMV. While the album isn't the best to introduce to new fans, the fans who currently exist are bound to stay loyal and I feel the fans can hold high expectations for future BFMV tours.