Released: Aug 14, 2015
Genre: Melodic Metalcore
Label: RCA Records
Number Of Tracks: 11
While an improvement over previous album "Temper Temper," "Venom" is an incredibly bland back-pedal to a time when BFMV were popular, and shows marginal growth.
VenomFeatured review by: UG Team, on august 14, 2015 13 of 67 people found this review helpful
Sound: "Venom" is the fifth album by long-running teenage soap opera Bullet For My Valentine. After the absolutely disastrous "Temper Temper," Matt Tuck and co. have spent all that time in between writing their new record with an aim to bring back a certain amount of aggression and a style similar to their first two records "The Poison" and "Scream Aim Fire."
They've certainly pulled off the latter, but the former must surely have been a bit of media fluff, as this album is anything but an aggressive piece. It's actually an interesting mini-history lesson listening to this album: here we have a band who were incredibly popular around the 2005-2006 era, playing mid-2000's melodic metalcore, only now, they're a 2006 band playing 2015 melodic metalcore and the biggest evolution that this band has caught up with? Yeah, that's right, MORE BREAKDOWNS.
It doesn't do much to bang on about said musical device, but considering this record is supposed to be a sign of their renewed strength, all they're doing is rehashing everything that they've done before. The songs all blend together, save one or two odd ones out, and the ever present whine of Matt Tuck's archetypal singing voice has done nothing to alleviate any outright dislike for it.
Out of the eleven tracks on this album, just three of them bring any sort of freshness in ideas to the table. "Army of Noise" is without a doubt, the best song on the album, and that's because it is entirely unlike the other tracks. It has drive, it has just the right song-writing flow and movement, the vocal performance and lyrical theme are actually not terrible and the dual solo is an exercise in good ol' by-the-book-ness. The title tracks first minute and a half is also really strong, as it evokes the same sort of feel that The Contortionist brought with their own relatively recent release "Language." It had the potential, at any rate, but it still ends up being a mid-tempo slog. And "Hell or High Water" is a slightly worse version of "Army of Noise," in that it takes a while to pick itself up. One could argue for "Pariah" to be included, but instead of generic metalcore, it's generic thrash, which is almost as egregious.
Every other piece is very much a watered down call back to "The Poison," but without any of the unhinged chagrin that gave "The Poison" a certain spice. Yeah, it's not as bad as "Temper Temper" but in the same respect, UKIP isn't quite as bad as the BNP, although both are still provably awful. // 4
Lyrics: As mentioned, Matt Tuck tries his best to ruin it for everybody (unless you're really into his vocal style, in which case, I'm sure your joy will remain un-ruined).
Said without malice, but even so, much like the definition of venom itself, his vocal performances just crowd absolutely everything in their presence until you give into the impression his vocals force upon you. It really is a case of having something stuck repeating itself forever in your head while simultaneously really, really wishing it wasn't.
Does he give a bad performance? No, it's strong on all fronts, both clean and harsh vocals. But the amount of forced conviction in his performance makes the lyrical content feel all the more repulsive.
And here we have the biggest contention anybody would have with this album (or band in general, if you're feeling petty), and that's the "I've just grown pubes, listen to me be an adult" lyrical concepts that have pervaded the band's image, history and to a lesser extent, genre since their first release. Even the album title feels like a contrivance, as if they wanted to really hammer home the idea that, yes, we're absolutely certain that we want to bring back 2005 again.
Amazingly cringe inducing lines like "Tell my why I feel like there's no way out/Trying hard to heal as the pain pours out" and other such person-centric, teenage-ego driven lines coerce an eye-rolling reaction. And honestly, the temptation to really rag on about these things is frankly embarrassing so let's move on. // 5
Overall Impression: If this album were to have been released five years ago, it would've been on the top of the game... as it sounds just as relevant to five years ago, to be honest. This album relies on throwbacks as much as an about-to-be-tackled rugby player, so much so that it really makes a person wonder how BFMV even managed to get off of the ground in the first place.
It's not the worst they've done but it's nothing close to the best, while their best was never super strong to begin with. It's an album by a band who want to bring back their old fans (who are all in their mid 20's by now surely), aiming to move away from previous failures but conversely, never aiming for anything higher.
amerijckbeheerder, on august 17, 2015 13 of 14 people found this review helpful
Sound: "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. // 8
Lyrics: 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. // 7
Overall Impression: 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." // 8
martinmirandaba, on august 17, 2015 13 of 14 people found this review helpful
Sound: Bullet For My Valentine is a band who needs no introduction. If you are reading this, probably you know most of the trajectory this band has been through, and probably you know about what happened with "Temper Temper." With "Venom" the band tries to recover or heal the bad taste that they made with their previous album. Has a lot of riffs, breakdowns, the bass is a bit more audible than their previous recordings and the drum is fast and consistent with some interesting beats that reminds me of their first 2 albums. // 8
Lyrics: Since "The Poison," Matt's voice has changed a lot, for some people is a good change but for other people it's not-as-good change, in this album we can hear that the band returned to the "emphasis" for some phrases on the verse or chorus and also to the "full-scream" verses.
Matt's clean voice sounds very good in almost all the songs but there is something that I think that is missing.
Lyrically I think this is the weakest point of the album, seems like Matt has never grown from 24 to 34 and haven't become from a teenager to an adult. The lyrics are about the same topics as their first materials, and I don't think it's a bad thing but It gets a little bit boring at some point to hear the same stuff as the previous years.
1. "V" - It is the intro song that is some kind of "expansion" from their song "No Way Out."
2. "No Way Out" - Was the first single they released in May and is an aggressive and fast track that reminds me from "Scream Aim Fire."
3. "Army of Noise" - This was their third single before they released the album and it talks about the fanbase of this band. It's also an aggressive track and has fast riffs and drum beats.
4. "Worthless" - Although it's one of my favorite tracks on this album here is what I told you about the same kind of lyrics that we've heard before on previous materials. The sound it's just fine and has a cheesy chorus.
5. "You Want a Battle? (Here's a War)" - This was their second single after "No Way Out." I don't really have a certain opinion about this song, we go back to the lyrics about "being ashamed" and "self esteem" and that stuff, I think this is the more radio friendly song on this album because it has aggressive riffs at some parts but it also has parts where it gets "lighter."
6. "Broken" - "Broken" is also a very aggressive song but also has a melodic sound in parts and includes the emphasis-screams in some parts, at the solo part turns very different than it was originally but it's a good song
7. "Venom" - The title song of the album, it's the song that reminds me the most of "The Poison" and it's also one of my favorites. Talks about self esteem and that stuff, I really like how Matt's song sounds in this one
8. "The Harder the Heart (The Harder it Breaks)" - It's probably my favorite song of this album, has a nice chorus and it's like the sing along song of the album, has a nice touch of aggressiveness and it's absolutely amazing.
9. "Skin" - The song starts with a nice riff followed by an awesome guitar solo and then it gets to the first verse, it's a really nice track and also has a cheesy chorus
10. "Hell or High Water" - It stars with Matt singing with a really nice riff behind, I like the verses, and chorus. It's the kind of song that you sing in your head while you're walking on the street, very melodic and also radio-friendly.
11. "Pariah" - The intro sounds a lot like "Scream Aim Fire," aggressive beats, fast riffs, thrashy sound, lots of breakdowns, nice verses and chorus. I think this is one of the best songs on this albums. Has a dark lyrics, reminds me a lot of AxeWound. // 7
Overall Impression: My final opinion about "Venom" it's that it's a really nice sounding album, has all that it's needed to please your hearing, fast riffs, slow riffs, breakdowns, sing-along choruses, and the production it's almost impeccable for me.
The only weak point that I mentioned before is the lyrics, the band it's growing with their fans, and I think that they think they're still playing for the same teenage fans that had on 2005. Beside that it's one of my favorite albums that this band has released and I think that you're not going to get disappointed while listening to it. Hope you enjoy listening this. // 8
xxxsticksxxx, on september 17, 2015 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Being a metal fan from Wales you might assume that I'd be a "bullet fan boy" so to speak, but in truth I agreed with the majority of the fans that their last two records have been sub standard (especially the more recent of the two). However this time around with the reappearance of Colin Richardson and a more traditional production process, I feel like the band has taken the right steps in proving to their fans and the general metal community that they can still have a big impact on the scene and still be relevant (considering the majority of their success comes from a debut album that is a decade old now). Instrumentally, "Venom" is a vast improvement over recent efforts with the drumming being more aggressive and technical when the direction of the song calls for it but also calming down and playing simply when required. The guitar work I feel like is also an improvement, The riffs while maybe not 100% original or life changing, are still hard hitting and paced out nicely with a nice mix of tempos, plus the solos seem a lot more well thought out this time compared to the mindless chromatic shredding utilized heavily on "Temper Temper." // 8
Lyrics: This is the part where most of the reviewers compare Matt's lyricism to that of a 13 year old girl or something along those lines. In truth the lyrics aren't going to make you contemplate the meaning of life or anything that deep but this is why I argue that Bullet has never had outstanding lyrics, even on "The Poison" they weren't anything incredibly impressive. Plus I remember a quote I heard to describe the band a few years back being "the band that's heavy enough for you, but also soft enough for your girlfriend" or something along those lines, but it speaks volumes about the bands demographic, which isn't anything to be ashamed about and the fact that the band is playing into that demographic lyrically is probably the smartest way to go. Despite some people's issues with the lyrics, the vocal delivery on the record is probably Matt Tuck's best since their debut or "Scream Aim Fire," especially considering the guy is 35 now and had all his previous vocal troubles. // 7
Overall Impression: To sum it up, I'd say this album is stronger instrumentally and vocally over their last two (I was surprised by the amount of negative reviews and hate personally). The album kind of reminds me of Killswitch Engage and "Disarm the Descent" in the way that we have another old generation metalcore band that has worked on revitalizing and bringing back some of their signature sound. The songs on "Venom" seem more memorable than their previous effort and the bonus tracks from the deluxe/special editions are also a nice expansion of the albums direction. If you're looking for that old school heavier bullet sound check out the tracks "Skin," "The Harder the Heart (The Harder It Breaks)" and "Pariah." The title track surprisingly is the one that offers the softer side of the band if you're into that, but most of the album is pretty consistent for me and there are several tracks that show both sides to the band well. nothing hugely ground breaking but enjoyable and fun metal, which is rare these days. // 8
MarkIridescence, on october 19, 2015 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: "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. // 8
Lyrics: 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. // 7
Overall Impression: 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." // 8