Amid 60-degree and clear weather, a smattering of rock/metal fans gathered outside the Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland to celebrate the modern metal stylings of Bullet for My Valentine, supported on this tour by Trivium and Toothgrinder. We arrived well in advance of the doors opening so we procured a spot in line fairly close to the venue. The only drawback was the wait for the doors to open and a local eatery blasting Spanish ballads on a loudspeaker directly in front of their facility which was visibly annoying all the metalheads in line for the show. Luckily, the only boiling point was someone in line for the show spinning the loudspeaker around so it was facing the restaurant which decreased the volume slightly. The scene was uncomfortable but manageable.
Once inside the venue, it was plain to see that the house was packed. Nearly sold out, even. Opening the festivities was Toothgrinder, a five-man outfit out of Asbury Park, New Jersey. Toothgrinder has been described under many different subgenres but fits nicely into the genre represented loosely at this show which was basically modern metal or what is sometimes known as Metalcore. Toothgrinder has definitely stepped up their game in terms of a live performance. Having reviewed live performances of the band previously, it was easily discernible that these guys have tightened their act considerably from a band that had talent but a sloppy stage show to now being a cohesive group of musicians. Vocalist Justin Matthews also has a sleek new look with short cropped hair and what could best be described as business attire on stage. The transformation of Toothgrinder was nothing less than shocking to witness through songs like “The Shadow”, “Diamonds for Gold”, “Let It Ride” and “Phantom Amour”. If these guys can continue their upward trajectory, they’ll be headlining in no time.
Up next on the bill was Trivium, a heavy metal quartet hailing from Orlando, Florida. Trivium has been gaining popularity for years with an added boost from their recently released album ‘The Sin and the Sentence’. Opening with the title track, Trivium showcased their impeccable musicianship and unending energy with a fervor unlike many of their musical peers. Powering through new songs such as “Betrayer” and “The Heart from Your Hate”, along with fan favorites ”Until the World Goes Cold” and “Pulling Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr”, Trivium delivered an indomitable performance accented by the rigorous mosh pit that erupted on several occasions. These guys deserve every accolade they receive, and then some.
Headlining the evening was Bullet for My Valentine, another four-man band out of Wales, UK. BFMV is touring in support of their late June release of their forthcoming 6th studio album, ‘Gravity’. BFMV is another band that is continually honing their skills as musicians and performers. Every time we’ve been privileged to see them live, their shows get better and better. This seemed to be a recurring theme throughout the night. Opening with “Don’t Need You” and following in quick succession with “Over It” and “Your Betrayal”, BFMV treated fans to a flawless show ultimately pulling a selection of songs spanning their archives. “The Last Fight”, “Worthless”, “Piece of Me”, “Venom”, all of which garnered an amazing response from fans and inspiring yet more vigorous mosh pits. Their set culminated with an encore of “Tears Don’t Fall” and “Waking the Demon” bringing the show to a satisfying end.
One thing that really stood out about this event was the palpable difference in all three bands. Toothgrinder with a newly concise and polished presentation, Trivium with their ever evolving lyrics and arrangements and Bullet for My Valentine with the development of their signature sound and stage presence. Excellent show.