Bullet For My Valentine – “Gravity” (Spinefarm Records)
Some bands are destined for stardom. Right from their beginnings in the late 90s, these Welsh rockers were ticking all the right boxes, from a certified gold album to signing a 5 album deal with Sony, not to mention winning the Kerrang! Awards 3 times – making them one of the most successful British metal bands around. Certainly evidenced by being a festival favourite, there’s no denying the lure of BFMV’s massively catchy music, whose emotional reach goes well beyond the airwaves to being sonically built for huge crowds, especially in the open air where their surging tempos create an incredible vibe and bounce – just witness it yourself! Musically a blend of modern rock, metalcore and pop harmonies, “Gravity” is the band’s 6th release and sees even more evolution with the incorporation of more keyboards and electronica, thankfully not in overpowering doses but just added in where needed and most of all, fitting in with the band’s staple sound. So, a diverse album indeed, but even more so when considering the powerful emotional ups and downs of the material, probably as a result of vocalist / guitarist Matt Tuck’s marriage breakdown over the last 2 years, so plenty to get over on the 11 songs here! As mentioned, the range here is wide, from ‘Don’t Need You’ which is classic BFMV with its raw riffage and even hoarser vocals blended with tender harmonies and naturally, an emo chorus that leads to – well, you guessed it – instant addiction! Even more so is ‘Over It’, with its chugging riffage overlaid by prominent guitar melodies and more subtle piano keys, the vocals mixing soul and screams but resplendent once again with another monster chorus, while ‘Letting You Go’ begins placidly enough, although you just know that when the power kicks in, those massive festival grooves come flooding in, contrasted by calming piano moments in between. Like I said, the new synth aspect is not overt, but where the band do push the envelope out is on ‘The Very Last Time’, which is a pop ballad that will certainly have some crooning, while others might well be retching heh heh – still, it’s only 1 song. All in all though, “Gravity” is very much still BFMV, and as the band embark on another round of summer festivals the true mettle of their material will be tested.