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Bullet For My Valentine

The Poison

Trustkill

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You know that slightly numb yet satiated feeling you get after an Owen Wilson comedy or a night at the Olive Garden? (Unlimited breadsticks!) It’s comfort, man. Remember that vacantly positive vibe when you listen to Bullet for My Valentine, a melodic Welsh metal band that’s itching to make waves on these shores. There’s zero in the originality department here: if the name and look don’t give away the band’s embittered, screamoid intentions, then the music certainly will—it’s a slightly less pop take on fellow countrymen Lostprophets, with some My Chemical Romance goth-noir imagery thrown in for good measure.

Thematically, the album maintains a perfect balance between self-loathing (the acoustic “All These Things I Hate [Revolve Around Me]”), violent anguish (“With bloodshot eyes, I watch you sleeping,” warns Visine-deprived singer Matt Tuck, and sexual recrimination (the you-blew-him-so-I-killed-you tirade “Room 409”). Tuck has the scream down OK, and his “singing” is actually quite good—his radio-friendly bile turns the potentially forgettable “Tears Don’t Fall” into a pretty impressive cell-phone-in-the-air ballad.

But the real reason BFMV transcend cliché and move into “acceptably mainstream”? The twin guitars of Tuck and “Padge.” (Hey, I only report the names; I don’t judge). While their modern metal peers aim for discord and randomness, these guys lead a complementary, lockstep, heavily synchronized assault; because of that, the built-up energy of the songs on The Poison carry you away from the group’s rather nondescript message. And when the band tries a bit harder, like on the constantly morphing and genuinely anthemic “4 Words (To Choke Upon),” the end result is… surprising. Just don’t tell anyone.

—Kirk Miller

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