Sound — 8
"Venom" is the fifth album released by Bullet For My Valentine - the follow up record of 2013's opinion-splitting "Temper Temper." The album features their most complex pre-production as well as a return to their heavier sound most well established on their first two albums. In my opinion, while it doesn't capture the same feel and drive of their first album "The Poison," the album succeeds very well in stepping up the heaviness from both "Fever" and "Temper Temper" while maintaining a natural and energetic sound.
1. "V" - definitely fulfills its purpose as an introduction track and sets the tone for the rest of the album. The gradual build into "No Way Out" will definitely be successful both for listeners of the album and people who go to see them live.
2. "No Way Out" - I can definitely see why this was the first single released off "Venom." The song is energetic and powerful from start to finish and really sets the bar high for the rest of the songs to follow. Tuck's vocal range shine well in the chorus, and he definitely knows how to pick his harmonies and make a part sound great.
3. "Army of Noise" - this track reminds me of the "Scream Aim Fire" days, where thrash was more evidently inspiring rather than just plain heaviness. I like how the band isn't dependent on unclean vocals to make a song heavy also. Moose's drumming on this one is badass and the song is just generally very good.
4. "Worthless" - is a song that gets you right from the start, its very atmospheric and the initial scream of "You're worthless to me!" pulls you in where you instantly feel the attitude and anger Tuck is expressing throughout the song. "Worthless" is a very strong track that could potentially be a future single.
5. "You Want a Battle" - the second single off of "Venom." Probably one of the catchier songs on the album, but keeps the heavy and dark vibe set from its proceeding tracks while exploding into a huge stadium anthem for the chorus. Definitely going to go down well as a live track.
6. "Broken" - this track is probably one of the weaker songs on the album, yet still being fairly strong. The unclean vocals in the pre-chorus are very well delivered and the chorus itself is very powerful.
7. "Venom" - even though this track has been heavily compared to "Tears Don't Fall" (part 1 and 2) it still has its own identity and is one of my favourite songs off of the album. Everything on the track sounds great, definitely one of the songs on the album where you get that "magic" feel from.
8. "The Harder the Heart" - now the album's ballad is out of the way we have this beast of a track, which to me sums up everything that is good about "Venom." The screams are powerful, the riffs are strong and the chorus is melodic - could easily be a single.
9. "Skin" - straight up, hard rock track. The riffs are driving and the solos in this track are brilliant, showing off Padge's technical abilities as well as musical abilities quite well. I really enjoy this song from start to finish.
10. "Hell or High Water" - this song is the only one on the album that took time to grow on me, but it really has grown on me! I like how different it is to the rest of the album.
11. "Pariah" - the closing track of "Venom" is definitely one that sends it out with a bang! The drive and energy behind this song is incredible. The speed and anger behind the drums in this track is definitely the highlight of the song, as well as Tuck's very well performed vocals. Probably my favourite song on the album.
Lyrics — 7
Lyrically the album is not as strong as it is musically. That isn't to say it is weak by a long stretch, just the lyrics tend to not hit you as hard as the music does. I disagree with the criticism that Matt Tuck should be writing about more "adult" problems as 10 years have passed since the released of "The Poison" because of the context of "Venom" - he wanted to revisit those times to give us this album. I just feel like the lyrics need to be stronger at times to match the intensity and power in the music. Definitely the weakest point of the album, but I wouldn't say it drags it down at all, just that it COULD be better.
Overall Impression — 8
Comparing this album to their other four releases, I would go as far to say that I would rank it as their best album, but tied with The Poison. You'll never get that raw emotion that "The Poison" captured on another BFMV album ever again, but "Venom" offers a maturer return to that sound while still showing progression and creativity to make this album stand on its own. All of the songs on the album are strong enough and the release of this album should reignite the momentum that "Temper Temper" could potentially have taken away from them. "Venom" is a sign that BFMV still have plenty of fuel in the tank, that they are still hungry and most importantly, have plenty left to give and are not willing to let go of their position at the top of British Metal easily!
Recommended tracks: "No Way Out," "Army of Noise," "Venom," "Pariah."