Remember the good old days of thrash metal? You know, when Metallica was actually a good band? It seems like eons ago that ‘80s thrash metal was the new big thing, an era dominated by the likes of Slayer, Iron Maiden, Megadeth and Judas Priest. Despite the fact that most of these bands are still together, still touring and from time to time releasing new music, it’s just not like it use to be back when James Hetfield had long hair and wasn’t whining about fans stealing his music. Even though those days are long gone, some contemporary bands are rekindling that thrash metal vibe in their own music today and are also having a lot of success in doing so. One such band is Bullet For My Valentine, a four-piece “metalcore” band from Bridgend, South Wales. These guys have become quite popular in the last few years and after a short hiatus, are back and set to release their sophomore LP Scream Air Fire.
The roots of Bullet For My Valentine go back about ten years to 1997. At this time, the band wasn’t even yet known as Bullet For My Valentine, instead the group went under the quirky and comical name Jeff Killed John. The members all met while each studying music at home at Bridgend College and upon meeting, they discovered a collective taste in classic metal and grunge rock music. This interest in ‘70s and early ‘90s rock was coupled with a taste for nu-metal, the most popular type of rock and roll in the late 1990s. Influenced by the likes of Korn and Limp Bizkit, the group embraced a nu-metal like sound, trying to capitalize on what they believed record companies and fans would be interested in hearing. This experiment had mixed results and as nu-metal’s popularity began to decline, the band thought it might be better to pursue a new musical direction. Along with a change in sound, the guys also agreed that a change in name would be a good course of action. They settled on the name Bullet For My Valentine, a name that was to symbolize the themes of fictional evil and love evident in their music.
Unlike many other groups just starting out, public and industry interest came relatively quickly for Bullet For My Valentine. Not long after changing their name and refocusing their music, the band was offered a record deal by the popular American metal label Roadrunner Records. The band ended up turning down this offer, opting for a more lucrative pact offered by Sony BMG, one of the world’s record label giants. Bullet’s debut releases under BMG were a couple of EPs, one a self-titled effort released at the end of 2004, the other, a six song compilation called Hand of Blood released at the end of summer, 2005. Although not huge commercial successes, these two EPs would pave the way for the band’s full-length debut album titled The Poison released in early 2006. The Poison would turn out to be a huge success for Bullet For My Valentine, catapulting the band to the status of one of the top metal bands in the world. The record sold extremely well both in the United States and around the world and suddenly there was a full fledged buzz surrounding the group.
Enter 2008. After two strong years of touring and very little rest, Bullet For My Valentine are set to unleash their sophomore LP Scream, Aim, Fire. The album is being described as similar in sound to The Poison, but harder and ultimately better. The eleven song effort was written and recorded in early 2007 at Sonic Ranch in El Paso, Texas and was produced by Colin Richardson, a well respected producer who has previously worked with Machine Head. So far, the title track first single has been garnering lots of attention and has ultimately helped make Scream, Aim, Fire one of the most anticipated albums of early 2008. And being no strangers to the road, Bullet For My Valentine are gearing up for two years strong of touring ahead of them, beginning with some UK and Europe shows in January before heading to the United States and Canada to be apart of the Taste of Chaos tour along with Avenged Sevenfold, Atreyu and others. So far it has been a quick and productive path for the guys from Bullet For My Valentine. Expect to see more of this band screaming, aiming and firing this year and for years to come.