Temper Temper (Deluxe Edition)
RCA Records/Sony Music Australia
When Welsh outfit Bullet For My Valentine released their debut full-length effort ‘The Poison’ in 2005, I was left unimpressed. Sure, the album did have a few solid songs, but overall I couldn’t get past the fact that the band’s brand of metalcore sounded a lot like several other metalcore acts that seemed to have saturated the scene at the time. Their follow-up effort ‘Scream Aim Fire’ (2008) may have shown a bit of progression on the song writing front, but I was still less than convinced of the band’s ability to truly stand out amongst the masses.
It wasn’t until the release of ‘Fever’ (2010) that Bullet For My Valentine managed to hold my attention from start to finish. Yes, the songs were quite melodic, and they still hadn’t managed to break free from the generic sound they started off with, but the drop in metalcore in favour of a more straight forward heavy metal sound and the sheer catchiness of the songs on the album worked in the band’s favour.
It’s been three years since then, and Bullet For My Valentine (Who comprise of lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Matthew Tuck, lead guitarist/backing vocalist Michael ‘Padge’ Paget, bassist/backing vocalist Jason James and drummer Michael ‘Moose’ Thomas) are back with their fourth full-length effort ‘Temper Temper’. And to be honest, it’s a bit of a disappointment.
The album opens with plenty of promise, with ‘Breaking Point’ boasting some tight knit riffing, some aggressive vocal passages from Tuck, a shredding solo from Paget and choruses that are every bit as catchy and memorable as anything Bullet For My Valentine have ever presented listeners.
The follow-up track ‘Truth Hurts’ is another strong song with a good mix of the melodic and the aggressive, but by the time the band kick into the first single/title track ‘Temper Temper’, it’s clear that like all of the band’s previous releases, this album was going to be another patchy effort. ‘Temper Temper’ isn’t a terrible song, but a fairly bland one at best. Part of the problem is the cliché lyrics, which come across as rather childish in light of the band’s comments about producing music that was going to sound more mature than anything released in the past. The other problem is the production (Handled by ‘Fever’ producer Don Gilmore), which in all honesty, sounds weak, and devoid of any of the harsh grittiness of the Bullet For My Valentine of old. The last problem is the genuine lack of innovation in the band’s songs. Yes, they’re melodic and catchy, but hardly the kind of songs that show any real progression beyond what they achieved on ‘Fever’.
In terms of solid efforts, unearthing gems on ‘Temper Temper’ is a bit of a challenge as everything on the album sounds like it was written to primarily appeal to the masses. But at a push, ‘P.O.W.’ (The second single lifted from the album), the Metallica sounding ‘Saints & Sinners’ and ‘Livin’ Life (On The Edge Of A Knife)’ are the stronger efforts alongside the opening pair of numbers.
In terms of bonus tracks on the deluxe edition of the album, the studio track ‘Not Invincible’ is actually a really strong song. There’s some cool guitar work throughout the song, and the production actually sounds raw and heavy. It begs the question why the best song on ‘Temper Temper’ happens to be a bonus studio cut only found on the deluxe edition. This is definitely a highlight.
The final two tracks, a cover of AC/DC’s ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ and ‘Scream Aim Fire’, are live recordings from the band’s appearance on the ‘Live Lounge’ show on BBC Radio 1 from October 2012. Both are a bit shaky and rough, but solid enough to be enjoyable.
Despite making a concerted effort to progress from album to album, Bullet For My Valentine have made a deliberate attempt to repeat the success and sound of ‘Fever’ with ‘Temper Temper’. I have no doubt that fans of the band will eagerly enjoy ‘Temper Temper’, but I’m not one of them. For me,
‘Fever’ still stands as the stronger album of the two by a long way.
And for those hoping for a return of ‘The Poison’ era type of heavy sound, I suggest you check out Tuck’s side project AxeWound. Their debut effort ‘Vultures’ (2012) is everything Bullet For My Valentine could ever hope to be – Heavy, but with a high calibre of quality song writing that makes it far more memorable in the long run.
For more information on Bullet For My Valentine, check out - http://www.bulletformyvalentine.com/
© Justin Donnelly