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Album Review: Bullet for My Valentine’s Gravity

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I’ll be honest – the last time I thought about Bullet for My Valentine was in 2005, and even then, my reaction was basically “these guys sound like shitty Trivium” (although to be fair, Trivium have also gone on to sound like shitty Trivium). Kudos to them for still being around thirteen years later. They’ve continued evolving their sound, and they’ve continued to build (or at least maintain) their fan base. It’s hard to have a long-term career when you started out as also-rans in a scene that burned out so spectacularly.

Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the three-time Kerrang! Best British Band Award winners ever actually got good. It also doesn’t mean that they ever got over their penchant for chasing trends. Gravity is a pretty appropriate name for their sixth album, because boy does it suck. They’ve moved from metalcore to some sort of bastard hybrid of Linkin Park-style radio rock and In Flames circa Soundtrack to your Escape. I know things are pretty garbage in the world right now, but if you’re going to go for a throwback thing, why would you pick the early 2000s?

Flaccid emocore anthems like “Over It” sit side-by-side with boring Deftones-type atmospheric tracks like “Piece of Me.” Whether you want to call this hard rock or metal, it fails on every conceivable level. Matt Tuck alternates between a plaintive whine and quasi-rapped tough guy declarations like “First you want to hate me, then you want to love me, this is how I’m feeling, now I’m letting you go” or “Give me a reason, why I should give a fuck, you lost my sympathy, you lack that human touch.”  I know we don’t listen to this stuff for the lyrics, but come on. The guitars crunch unmemorably, the electronics wash away any bit of subtlety, and while there are hooks, they’re of the Hellraiser kind, painfully tearing away chunks of your precious life.

This band is terrible. This album is terrible. They had thirteen years and six albums to get their shit together, and this was the best they could come up with? I can at least recognize that The Poison and Scream Aim Fire were solid examples of poppy metalcore, even if they weren’t my thing. I’m not sure whose thing this is. On the other hand, their latest US tour sold out, so what the hell do I know? You can’t fight gravity.

Bullet for My Valentine’s Gravity comes out June 29 on Spinefarm. You can listen to the track “Over It” here and preorder the album here, or you could just throw yourself off a cliff.

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