Thursday, 28 February 2013

'Temper Temper' - Bullet for my Valentine

'Temper Temper' - Bullet for my Valentine
Album Rating: 3/5 ***
Top Tracks: 'Livin' Life', 'Dead To the World'

[note: apologies for the delay in uploading this, I've had some technical issues in that I couldn't log in to post anything, but this should be sorted now!]

Well, well, well... I'm pretty sure we've all listened to the highly anticipated new album 'Temper Temper' from Welsh metal band Bullet for my Valentine by now, but what do people actually think about it? Is it as good as die-hard fans were expecting? Does it even come close one of their most renowned albums, 'The Poison' [featuring popular songs such as 'Tears Don't Fall', and 'All These Things I Hate']? Is 'Tears Don't Fall, Pt. 2' really an acceptable sequel to the original?! Have patience, and I shall delve into the depths of the album to uncover the answers.

Anyone that follows the band will know they went through a rough patch in which frontman Matt Tuck almost ended everything regarding Bullet after the other members developed dependency problems with alcohol and it began to jeopardise them as a unit. In an interview with Kerrang! magazine, Matt mentions that many of the songs that feature on 'Temper Temper' are directed at the other guys in the band for the way they were behaving. The aggravation is behind them now though, and the band have emerged through the darkness with a new album as a souvenir. 

Sure, the album portrays frustration, and anger, and sadness (like a metal album should), but that doesn't guarantee that it's going to be good. Or does it? I'll stop being all mysterious now and just tell you that it doesn't guarantee everything will be good; there were a few tracks ('Dirty Little Secret', 'Tears Don't Fall, Pt.2') that I was somewhat disappointed with, but I'll go into more detail about that in a little while. First, let me tell you all about the best parts of the album, because they're the parts you're going to be interested in, right? 

Right. You're into metal. You like songs with incredible double-bass, savage vocals, and guitar solos so impressive they'd probably melt your face off if you stood too close. There are songs on this album that possess those qualities. 'Truth Hurts', 'P.O.W', and 'Livin' Life (On the Edge of a Knife)' are probably three of the best songs that Bullet have produced in their entire career. The combination of the growled vocals with the harmonised ones is particularly effective in 'Livin' Life', and the breakdown into whispers in this song quite literally sent shivers down my spine. I highly advise wearing headphones and turning it up quite loud (although I'm not taking responsibility for any bleeding ears), and listening to that song in particular. It's all very impressive.

Despite this, I couldn't help but feel a little disheartened by the album as a whole; as a studio recording it felt clinical. It's definitely a shame, because tracks like 'Truth Hurts' and 'Saints & Sinners' would be must-see songs when played live. The studio recording just doesn't do them justice. You have to imagine being in the middle of a mosh pit when you listen to those songs, and then you can really get a feel for the emotion that Matt Tuck puts into his songs when he writes them.

Upon listening to 'Dead To the World', I began to see the album in a different light. It's a reflective song that I'd be tempted to put on if I happened to have 'one of those days', and it picks up and gets heavier to reveal some fantastic drum fills in the breakdown, going into a guitar solo. Oh God. Dat solo... But in all seriousness, I highly commend Bullet for 'Dead To the World', it's a top track!

Now we come to one of the questions I raised at the very beginning of this review. Is 'Tears Don't Fall, Pt. 2' worthy to be titled as such? Personally, I don't think so. I hate to be so critical of a band that have produced some of my favourite pieces of music, but there's no hiding from great musicians trying to replicate their best work and not quite making the bar. For one thing, I felt it needed more screaming. More screaming, she says! MORE. Of course there needs to be a balance between vocal style, but there was something lacking from the song; I'm willing to say the melodic backing vocals could have made the song slightly better had they been a bit heavier. The whole thing just felt whiny. The song was average, but certainly not worthy of its title.

On a lighter note, I did feel 'Riot' was a track that made me want to turn down reality and turn the music up and obey. The guitar in this piece is incredible, and like the title suggests, it would be the perfect song to play during a riot. I'm imagining it now; the dark streets of London filled with the wasted youth. Dust is rising under the yellow street lights. Sirens wail in the distance, but you're so caught up in the moment you barely notice. That's when this song comes on, and you really lose it... [note: I'm not taking liability for any future riots...]

As a whole, the album was good. It wasn't overwhelming, and I won't have it on solid repeat for the next few days (like I did with Stone Sour's 'Come What(ever) May' recently - review for parts 1 and 2 of 'House of Gold & Bones' coming to a computer screen near you soon... -), but it certainly wasn't a bad album that deserves to be shelved for eternity. I think the most important thing to consider when listening to the album is to imagine the songs played live; for me, the issue with 'Temper Temper' was that it felt very one dimensional, and categorised. It wasn't adventurous, or dynamic. It seemed to be lacking something; perhaps the raw drive that was present in their previous albums. Bullet for my Valentine always pull off incredible live performances, and despite the slight disappointment with the studio recordings, I'm confidant that adding some new songs from 'Temper Temper' to their live set list will give them the vitality they need!

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