WORDS: Alex Piercy
There is a massive void in our current generation of hard rock/metal bands for potential acts worthy of ascending to the converted status of headliners. Few acts seem to possess the weight, unified fan base or material to eventually take the mantle from current behemoths such as METALLICA, IRON MAIDEN or AC/DC. Time is running out and as our beloved heroes begin to show their age this debate is escalating through the channels with BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE being a heavily repeated name in the discussion. With many suggestions and rumours of them taking the top slot at download over the next few years, there is only one thing that seems to be holding them back from acceptance to this honour, the release of their last full-length LP Temper Temper.
Regardless of whether you were one of the few diehards to persevere through, or genuinely enjoy the record, it’s unavoidable to realise the damage Temper Temper did to their career and credibility. (Let us never have to endure 2013’s Riot or its shockingly poor video ever again) Considering the band still retain many loyal followers who still proclaim they hold the torch for the UK metal scene, Matt Tuck and co have a lot riding on the release of their latest effort Venom, to prove Temper Temper was simply the St Anger to their METALLICA and they are still worthy of such comparisons. Sadly Venom takes such a safe step backwards through their earlier sound and such tiny baby steps forward that they might need to pass that torch before it fades out.
There are some decent moments on Venom, with the intros of No Way Out and Broken showing the backline are still capable of a delightfully vicious assault on the earlobes, (something we’ve been longing for from the Welsh rockers over the last few albums) however as the majority of the songs progress the band slips into old and bad habits that stain the legitimacy of the record. It’s been a long time since the release of their debut The Poison and though the fans may have grown up since then, the lyrical content and angst of frontman Matt Tuck surely hasn’t, coming off at this point in his career as forced and unconvincing. This is a shame as unless you fall into the age range of 13-18 it becomes difficult to connect emotionally to the music, not aided by the fact the song writing throughout the record falls into generic arrangements, with nearly every track eventually breaking into a predictable and clichéd power chorus.
Followers of BULLET from the beginning of their career, especially those desperately hoping for Venom to be a return to form, will find it hard not to be disappointed with what is on offer here. Granted if this was released earlier in their career it would be easier to appreciate and focus more on other factors which remain consistent on the record, but Bullet have had plenty of time to progress from their slump and it seems the bands strengths may now have turned to their greatest weaknesses as they retread over familiar ground, leaving the majority of Venom as forgettable and saturated. Let’s simply leave it at this: it’s still an improvement on Temper Temper, but that’s about it.
Venom is out now via RCA Records