Sound — 8
"This is our strongest and heaviest effort to date." - Matt Tuck
Yeah, a new kind of heavy for BFMV. Why? I was surprised that Bullet finally found out that heaviness is not created by only screaming as much as they possibly can. This album contains more clean vocals than screams, I'd say "Venom" fits between "Scream Aim Fire" and "Fever" if it comes to the vocals. There's less vocal processing on this record than for example "Scream Aim Fire," that's a big + since songs like "Watching Us Die Tonight" sounded very canned and processed.
Some tracks on "Venom":
"Army of Noise" - thrashy, fast paced feel-good metal song. It has the same vibe as "Fever" (title track) had back in 2008. The song describes Bullet's fans and the experience they have as a band when they're playing live.
"Venom" is the calmest song on the album, it's comparable to "Bittersweet Memories" if it comes to clean vocals/screams and the vibe of the song. But it's nice to see a song like this on these kinds of albums. It adds variety to the total listening experience and it has a pretty catchy chorus.
Mixing and mastering is done pretty well, I haven't had a moment that I heard something odd/off or thought "well this sounds rubbish."
Guitar/instrumental-wise they have been better, most of the riffs are pretty simple and based on basic scales. Although that on itself doesn't matter, it just feels like some sections/riffs where rushed just to complete a song. This isn't really bothering but just something I had to share as a guitar player haha. The solos are pretty sick, melodic and fast paced as always.
All and all I feel the record has a lot of trash metal influences, lot's of fast trashy riffs, a lot of palm mutes, open notes and so on.
Lyrics — 7
lyrically the songs variate a bit. For example "Broken" is one of the heaviest songs on the album, thick fast paced riffs, well placed screams; an all round old school Bullet track. I haven't figured the meaning of the song out yet since I only heard it a couple of times, but it sure as hell is dark.
As for the rest of the songs, most of them aren't that dark. Of course the topics are not positive, but not super negative either. I really don't like cliche-metal negative lyrics just to sound heavier or whatever the thought behind it is. But this album is more or less like "Fever" was.
One downside to the lyrics, in my opinion some of the lyric content is just a little too simple. I like well written, difficult, perhaps even metaphoric lyrics in a song. It makes the songs much more interesting.
Overall Impression — 8
It might not be Bullet's best effort (but that's my opinion) but definitely one of their better records. As I said multiple times it feels and sounds like a heavier version of "Fever." But it still has it's unique sound as it's more influenced by thrash metal than other records.
Things that I like about the record:
- the fact that they released a DECENT new album (kuch "Temper Temper"...)
- nice blend of clean vocals (I really prefer clean vocals) and screams.
- the songs are pretty catchy and didn't bore me after listening to them for about all day long.
Things I didn't like about the record:
- the songs are SHORT. The average running time is 3:30. Longest being "Army of Noise" with something like 4:20. Shorter ones are only 3:20 plus a intro that goes on for like 30 seconds!
- the sometimes cliche and simple lyrics
- for the time it took to write and produce this record (2013-2015) I feel that 12 songs (on the normal version, the Deluxe edition has 4 bonus tracks but those might as well be A-sides and they're just put on the Deluxe Edition to earn more money) are not enough.
I guess my favorite songs are "Venom," "Army of Noise" and "Skin."