Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bullet for My Valentine - Scream Aim Fire CD Review

The Poison was actually a pretty good release for what it was, which happened to be a less complex and friendlier version of Trivium. With Scream Aim Fire Bullet for My Valentine have actually went and pulled a Trivium in that they managed to change just enough to be way less enjoyable than their previous effort, much like what happened on The Crusade.

Most notably changed on this release is the vocal approach. The melodic vocals are not as smooth as in the past, probably in part due to Matthew Tuck’s severe laryngitis and tonsillectomy in 2006. The raspier vocals are not necessarily bad, but considering how crystal clear and glossy the rest of the band are, having this one rough edge is troublesome. If the songs themselves were of a grittier nature, it wouldn’t matter, but the fact is BFMV are a glossy band. Their debut EP, The Poison, and Scream Aim Fire all sport slick production values and a nice shiny gleam.

Speaking of shining up their album, there are a lot of little annoying things on this album that could no doubt have been fixed either while recording, mixing, or mastering the album, but were somehow left in place or, oddly, probably added during those processes. For instance, on the title track's later chorus chants, Tuck screams out, “Scream! Aim! Frrriiiiaaaaaarrrrrr!” Dude, say “fire”, I know you can do it. Being from South Wales is not an excuse. You named your album Scream Aim Fire, not Scream Aim Friar after all. Then there’s the hand claps in “Eye of the Storm”. Seriously? Are they really necessary? This isn’t a pop punk album. Then there’s the obviously campy 80’s hair metal gallop of “Hearts Bust into Fire”. I’m sorry, but 80’s hair metal will never make a comeback. Atreyu couldn’t do it and there’s no way BFMV will do it either. Speaking of 80’s hair metal, listen to the band as they sing the chorus to “Waking the Demon”. The synchronized, almost synth tinged melodies are a dead ringer for every arena rock band that has ever graced the radio airwaves.

And that’s just the first four songs. Now that’s not to say this entire album is terrible and cheesy because it is not. It gets better as it progresses. It’s mostly just a big let down after the decidedly fun The Poison. It is good to hear the band branching out and trying to incorporate some influences outside of Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Testament, but still, the majority of this album simply leaves you with a big, sighing feeling of… “Meh”. BFMV, years into their career, still haven’t managed to create their own identity and are instead merely expanding the amount of influences they try to fuse together.

Yeah, you could do a lot worse when it comes to trying to find modern metal bands, but you could find a lot better as well. BFMV’s dual guitar attack, competently structured songs, and somewhat interesting solos do lend this album to being very listenable, but in a very simplistic way. Metaphorically speaking, Scream Aim Fire might not be the steak dinner you are looking for when your stomach is growling, but it’s a nice little candy bar that will probably hold you over until you get to meal time.

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