Bullet For My Valentine - The Poison
Trustkill Records
13 songs (53:45)
Release year: 2005
Trustkill Records
Reviewed by Elias
Archive review

I would like to preface this review with an observation clarifying my judgemental parameters. When it comes to evaluating music, there is a long ongoing debate among music philosophers as to whether art can be judged objectively or whether the quality of a product depends entirely on the listener’s opinion and perspective. The matter of taste is definitely an important factor, and because of this I expect to provoke many negative reactions with this review. My personal opinion on the matter of objectivity and subjectivity in music is that there is definitely a method of objective analysis, based on elements such as technical proficiency, cohesiveness of arrangement, complexity and depth of composition, etc; however it must be done within the parameters of the band’s intentions and generic placement. That is, I would rate a band according to what the band are trying to do. At most, additional analysis can be done in relation to what their generic peers are producing.

That said, on to the actual review. Bullet For My Valentine are a Metalcore band from Wales. I first stumbled upon them in an interview in the misleadingly titled Classic Rock Magazine, and my inexperienced 14-year-old self was impressed at their (in hindsight admittedly simplistic) attitude towards Metal. I hade never heard of “Metalcore”, and a band that claimed to want to “bring the riffs and solos back into Metal” was good enough for me. The mainstream Metal market that I knew was saturated with the likes of Slipknot and their equally “untrue” peers. A band that cited Iron Maiden and Ozzy Osbourne as a primary influence rather than, say, Korn, had already won quite a lot of points, regardless of the accuracy of their citations. I snapped the album up and have been listening to it on a consistent basis ever since, even though my reasons for liking it today are very different than those 4 years ago.

The Poison is a showcase of catchy riffs and melodic choruses, and it does not attempt to be anything deep, controversial, or provocative. In short, Bullet For My Valentine know what they like, and avoiding all pretensions simply recreate their music of choice. The music is full of mid-tempo breakdowns, simple clean-to-screaming vocal dynamics, and euphonic guitar harmonies in either the third or fifth. Gimmicks, all of them, but not overused, and all for the greater purpose of the song. Of course, the songs themselves are, from a compositional point of view, very easy to listen to.

After a cello-driven crescendo in the intro (courtesy of Apocalyptica), the band kicks of to an energetic start with Her Voice Resides. A scream, a catchy riff, and a predictable yet fun lead harmony set the tone for the entire album. Variety is present solely in the slower speeds of some songs, like Tears Don’t Fall and the unfortunately titled All These Things I Hate (Revolve Around Me), which act as proto-ballads, all the time following the bands melodic riff-driven formula. I don’t have to expound upon what consists of a Metalcore formula, as everyone should be familiar with the trademark gimmicks used by Metalcore bands to provoke dynamic punches (breakdowns, sudden clean-to-distorted switches, etc). Bullet For My Valentine, however, differ from the myriad of identical Metalcore bands in the distribution of said gimmicks and the ability to implement them in effective ways throughout the entire song without instilling boredom. The album does begin to lag a bit around the tenth song, but it’s a minor issue. The best songs are the first ones, anyway.

Lyrically this album deals solely with one theme, namely violent conclusions to relationships. Admittedly not very interesting, and the lyrics are in no way a focal point of the album. They do provide a laugh or two, however. Hearing homicidal threats sung in somewhat cheesy melodies, occasionally in harmony, is good for a giggle.

All in all, a fun and enjoyable Metalcore album, if you’re able to stomach the melody and (horrors!) gimmicks (as if no other genre had its formulaic gimmicks). Solid over time, and a safe buy for a fun metal album.

Killing Songs :
Her Voice Resides, 4 Words (To Choke Upon), Tears Don't Fall, Suffocating Under Words Of Sorrow, All These Things I Hate (Revolve Around Me), Hand Of Blood
Elias quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Bullet For My Valentine that we have reviewed:
Bullet For My Valentine - Fever reviewed by Tyler and quoted 30 / 100
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