Welsh act step up as they needed to
Some months after other parts of the world, Australia has finally seen the release of Bullet For My Valentine's debut album, The Poison. This Welsh (Bridgend) quartet, who are vocalist/guitarists Matthew Tuck and Michael Padget, bassist Jason James and drummer Michael Thomas, are in that same market as the likes of Trivium and to a lesser extent, Atreyu, and The Poison certainly offers little to dispute that. Following on from their previous EP, Hand Of Blood, The Poison is the band's first real litmus test as to how they will stack up in what is already a cluttered genre.
The simply titled Intro, which features strings by Apocalyptica early on, only takes shape midway through when the effective lead kicks in sounding like a soundtrack piece done by Joe Satriani. There's no delay with Her Voice Resides and the first promotional single, 4 Words (To Choke Upon) (the later of which was showcased on the band's previous Hand Of Blood EP and featured on EA Sports NHL 2006 game), as both kick in with a furious mix up of tempos and changes that ensure a solid start for the album. Both are full of catchy riffs and chord progressions behind the combination of screamed and clean vocals (think along the lines of Trivium and you'd be on the money with Bullet For My Valentine) and are a solid representation of what Bullet For My Valentine is about. The slower Tears Don't Fall, and to a lesser extent Suffocating Under Words Of Sorrow (What Can I Do), showcase a variety of influences from gentle verses, galloping drums, harmony guitar parts and the full on thrash influenced attack that appears in the last half of Tears Don't Fall which should easily make it a crowd favourite.
From here on in, the album to's and fro's through musical turns and twists with the dynamic Hit The Floor, the melodic-turns-somewhat-metal ballad All These Things I Hate (Revolve Around Me), the screamo edge of Room 409 and the album's title track, The Poison, with all tracks delivering plenty of melody with varying degrees of metalness throughout. 10 Years Today had more of an emo rock with very little metal vibe to it and it's by this point that it's clear that the albums highlights are early on. The material here is consistently full of hooks and melody and as such, they are not bad songs, but a couple of the previous tracks as well as Cries In Vain and Spit You Out offer little variation from anything else on the album and consequently aren't nearly as memorable. The End is aptly titled as it rounds out the track initially with a soft, gentle intro that slowly builds into another display of Trivium-esque riffs, passages and dynamics making it an enjoyable way to wind up the album.
The album's massive production by Colin Richardson (Napalm Death, Machine Head, Carcass) certainly adds to the album, and on the whole the album is a step up from their previous EP, Hand Of Blood. It won't be an album that will change the minds of the band's detractors, but for those who are big on bands such as Trivium, Bullet For My Valentine should also be in your CD collection.
(20-20 Entertainment/Sony/BMG Entertainment Australia)