Ten years on from their debut success, The Poison, Bullet For My Valentine stormed the O2 Guildhall in Southampton and affirmed their position among the greats of the modern metal scene.
Having seen Bullet For My Valentine play for the first time six years ago, I jumped at the chance to reconnect with the band. When I saw them in 2009 the band brought the house down of The Royal Albert Hall, which set the bar at an almost unobtainable high. After support acts ColdRain and While She Sleeps set the tone for the night of drop tuned guitars and shameless head banging, the stage flooded with a sea of blue light, filling the Guildhall ready for Welsh rockers to take the stage.
There was an air of something special about this tour, being 10 years on from the release of the band’s critically acclaimed debut album, an record of such magnitude that the band have previously failed to contest. As a result the set was dominated by the classics such as ‘Tears Don’t Fall’ and ‘Hand of Blood’, evoking a mass scream-along. However it has to be noted that the band’s latest material from Venom, such as the anthemic ‘You Want a Battle, Here’s a War’ and ‘Army of Noise’, didn’t seem out of place amongst the classics, bringing just as much excitement among the fans. As mentioned by frontman Matt Tuck, Venom recently topped the UK metal album chart, which completely affirms that Bullet have reached the top of their game yet again.
The set was incredibly well considered, with the band exploding out of the blocks and evoking an instant circle pit (something only achieved on request by the prior support acts of the night), for the opening track of Venom ‘No Way Out’ and interlude ‘V’, which simmered through the venue. The band wasted no time bursting into the classics, with second song of the night being The Poison single ‘4 Words to Choke Upon’, which of course went down a storm.
It was a night of some incredibly precise trickery including some impressive soloing from Michael ‘Padge’ Paget, in particular during ‘Alone’, which featured the whole band dropping to a silence while he stormed through the virtuosic guitar solo. This then lead to a thunderous return from all on stage, which completely displayed their commitment to being stand out musicians, but also exceptional performers. Incredibly well timed breaks and introductions, as well as an emotional solo, and a stripped back performance of ‘The Last Fight’, showed Tuck working the stage without his bandmates whilst continuing to hold the crowd in the palm of his hands.
Overall it was a fantastic night, with a lively atmosphere among veteran Bullet fans as well as a newer, younger generation of metal heads, which only helped to rekindle my connection with the band. Regardless of the ups and downs of their career, Bullet have stood the test of time and have returned to the top of their game; just in time to mark the 10th anniversary of their debut 5 star album The Poison. But their latest record Venom was just as well received by fans and is an album which I hope stands the test of time just as prominently as their debut. Regardless of the highs and lows of their career, the band’s incredible dedication to metal and the hours of practice that goes with it, will never cease to amaze me.