Though things were kind of shaky for Bullet for my Valentine after the release of their second album, this one showed a return to form. They came back brutal and heavier than before. It’s not perfect, but just about every song is great and notable for different reasons. While there are tracks that are sure to get you headbanging there are others that make you question if the band has lost it. Either way it’s one of their better efforts and serves as a reminder as to what was missing from their 2013 LP.
The opening track “Your Betrayal” is not only one of the most brutal, it’s also the best on the album. Everything from the pounding drums and guitars during the intro to the intense chorus makes the whole thing fierce and harsh. This track is also insanely violent and I don’t mean that as a criticism. It alludes to murdering a cheating lover for betraying the relationship. Lines like “don’t take you’re eyes off the trigger” and “now that we can’t be forever/there’s just no hope for a final embrace” makes you picture all the blood and gore going on. It’s one of those things you hear that makes you stop and wonder what you’re hearing right now. It’s eerie and brutal in the best way possible.
“Fever” is a straightforward song about getting hot and heavy at a strip club. The intense music keeps it going, but it loses some of its steam during the bridge when Matt Tuck sings “Come here you naughty girl/you’re such a tease/you look so beautiful/down on your knees.” Aside from being degrading, it just sounds cheesy. It’s like Tuck was trying to come off cool and sexy, but it just sounds bad. “The Last Fight” seems like it would be about getting into a fight, especially with a chorus of “I will fight/don’t break down in front of me/I will fight,” but a closer look at the lyrics show a deeper meaning. Being sucked in by addiction is mentioned throughout the track showing that it’s actually about trying to fight whatever addiction you have and realizing you’re only fighting yourself. It stands out because unlike most of their songs it’s not about a jilted lover and other bad relationships.
While some of the other songs are good, there isn’t much about them that makes them stand out from the others. “Alone” is full of discontent for an ex-lover with a trilling guitar riff and a spiteful attitude behind the vocals, “Pleasure and Pain” features rapid pounding drumming along with sick guitars and is another track about a disintegrating relationship. The only thing that’s questionable here is the line “Bow, cause I’m you’re god.” I always found this line to be weird and really arrogant. Also, why would you say this to someone you’re on the verge of breaking up with? “Begging For Mercy” has the signature Bullet sound that gets you pumped and makes you want to break shit. With the gruesome images and the intense, screaming vocals it seems to present the duality of a killer. On one hand he’s ready to kill someone, on the other he’s aware he has no control over his actions.
Most of the songs are good, but the low points come during the band’s softer moments. The worst is “A Place Where You Belong.” The song is just corny. It’s obviously about suicide, but it presents the situation in the most cliché way possible: not sure why the person did it, now you’re miserable, you don’t want to be alive anymore, and you want to join them on the other side. Suicide is really serious, but it’s been presented in this way many times before. At this point it’s kind of boring. “Bittersweet Memories” is a bit more tolerable, but still on the cheesy side. It’s about the bitter end of a relationship. It’s a pretty weak song with the best part being the line “This finger’s for our memories.” I’m not sure why Bullet feels the need to include a lame ballad on all their albums. I can appreciate if they want to explore a different side of themselves, but these tracks would be better off as a b-side.
With a title like “Pretty on the Outside” this song seems like another one of their lackluster ballads, but it’s surprisingly good. It starts out somber, but unexpectedly speeds up and gets more aggressive. The vocals are a bit jarring; they’re done in a spoken word style that doesn’t always flow with the rhythm of the song. It throws you off at first, but once you get used to it you how it fits in. Though it’s a little different the song manages to keep you interested. It’s a shame it had to close the album because it’s way too easy to overlook. It would’ve been a better fit somewhere in the middle, especially before all the ballads start.
Overall, the album gets 8/10. Though the record isn’t perfect, it’s still a really strong effort. It’s a return to the Bullet sound and vocal style fans craved for after their second release. The songs are brutal, harsh, and more aggressive than before. There are some mediocre ballads that aren’t as great, but there are enough stellar tracks to overlook them. It may not be their best album, but it’s far better than their latest. While they don’t have to do the same thing over and over to get a great album, hopefully they’ll look at the successful songs here and figure out what made them so good and apply them to their next release.