REVIEW: BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE – “Gravity”
Bullet For My Valentine first showcased their talent as musicians with an ear for melody when the Welsh rockers erupted on to the Metal scene with their debut phenomenon, ‘The Poison’. Since their prestigious debut, Bullet have demonstrated their desire to expand their range while retaining their roots with each successive album, achieving some remarkable results along the way. With their forthcoming album, ‘Gravity.’ Bullet For My Valentine don’t just reach for the stars, they courageously leap into the great unknown. A record their audience is sure to relish, even if they are likely to be pleasantly surprised.
With time comes evolution, and Bullet have indeed evolved. Avoiding trading their unique sound for formula, the band have instead opted for a more layered approach, filling in the spaces of their musical spectrum throughout the majority of ‘Gravity’ with synths and electronics. A decision that will separate purists from the open minded, the latter bound to find themselves in for a refreshing treat. While these newer components are obviously present, in most cases they never dominate the heavier elements within the songs. Instead they compliment them. In “Letting You Go,” swooning, gentle verses blend with sharp, gripping choruses as the song sinks its teeth in deep, subjecting you to its understated power. Similarly, “Not Dead Yet” exhibits a gravitational pull as it coils tightly around its listener. With simple, single notes creating a running melody, consistently building toward anthemic gang chants coupled with a hook line that feels pure, Bullet deliver with a delightful twist.
“The Very Last Time’ serves as a highlight on a record that is sure to cause something of a stir. Arguably the bands most notable moment of change, when we reflect back on their catalogue, there is simply no argument with regards to whether or not it works. For it does, and then some. Destined to produce tears and break hearts, the near halfway point of this album shows a side to Bullet that makes their earlier tearjerkers feel insidious in comparison.
That said, this new direction doesn’t always work. Title track “Gravity” feels like Bullet but sounds more like a tribute band inspired by them than it does them. As does “Don’t Need You,” which teases with this new, interesting direction, but falls safely back into old traits, giving the impression that the track was designed to please and reassure the skeptical.
Individual performances throughout ‘Gravity’ are not only exceptional, they’re transcendent. Blatantly due to adhering to the philosophy that less is more, with songs ranging from big to small in an instant, never hiding behind shredding solos or a myriad of guttural vocals. With blistering renditions from drummer Jason Bowld on numbers such as “Coma,” to vocal deliveries from Matt Tuck in “Under Again” and “Breathe Underwater,” these songs stand with Bullet’s best, revealing the Welsh rockers as evidently up to tapping into something entirely fresh and engaging.
Almost instantly, it becomes clear that if Bullet have not embarked on a musical departure with ‘Gravity,’ the band is making a conscious effort not to tread over any old ground. For ‘Gravity,’ sees Bullet For My Valentine adding yet another dimension to their sound. Big, bold, and baleful, ‘Gravity’ is Bullet evolved, entering what might be the most interesting chapter in their illustrious careers to date.