Bullet For My Valentine

(Jive Records 2010)Bullet For My Valentine - Fever

Now that the gallstone known as metalcore has been passed, we get to see which bands have dropped into the septic tank and which ones have yet to find themselves circling the toilet bowl. Former heavyweights like Killswitch Engage and Unearth don't have nearly the same clout they once did, and there are more than enough defunct acts nobody will even remember to choke a herd of medium-sized elephants. There are still some viable groups that remain from the heady days of the mid-aughts, though, and Bullet for My Valentine is right at the top of the list. And if their back-to-back Billboard top 5 showings are any indication, they've gone miles beyond the shackles of the scene in which they were born.

Bullet for My Valentine have remained relevant by keeping the heavy, nixing any harsh vocals, and writing infectious songs that rely on sharp solos, deep hooks and (mostly) catchy choruses. Those familiar with the band's past output should know what to expect with "Fever;" BFMV have a script and they stick with it here. Each song is meticulously crafted for the perfect ratio of head-banging heaviness to non-off-putting smoothness. Adding to the songs' aural stickiness are Matt Tuck's high-flying yet rough edged vocal lines, which plow urgently by with unobtrusive lyrics, as long as you ignore the awful Nickelback-worthy sentiments of the title track's bridge: "You look so beautiful/Down on your knees/Keep on those high-heeled shoes/Rip off all your clothes." Even with that gem, "Fever" should pluck all the right chords with the radio-rock crowd while retaining enough bite to appeal to casual metalheads.

"Fever," ultimately, is a fun and raucous record that makes too many excursions into the DMZ (Disposable Music Zone). Although this likely suits the band just fine, as they're sitting pretty as kings atop the junkheap that metalcore has become. Much like The Dude, Bullet for My Valentine abides.


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