Hailing from Bridgend, Wales, United Kingdom, Bullet for My Valentine is one of the hottest, energetic young acts on the metal scene. Their songs are electric and full of youthful energy, as well tight, technical compositions. While they showcase their instrumental talents in their arrangements, they are also capable of crafting catchy, sing along tunes. They are gaining a loyal following as their career progresses, enjoying mainstream exposure and success in United Kingdom and abroad.
In 1998, Matthew Tuck (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Michael “Padge” Paget (lead guitar/backing vocals), Nick Crandle (bass guitar), and Michael “Moose” Thomas (drums, percussion) formed the band Jeff Killed John while studying music at BridgendCollege. The band began playing Metallica and Nirvana covers, eventually release a two track EP in 2002 entitled You/Play with Me, produced by Greg Haver. Jeff Killed John’s music followed the nu metal trend set by bands such as Korn and Limp Bizkit; a fact that many current fans are grateful was changed later. On the eve of recording sessions began for You/Play with Me, bassist Crandle left the band. He was replaced by current bassist Jason James. Crandle’s departure, along with financial struggles, prompted Jeff Killed John to change their name to Bullet for My Valentine and to shift their musical style from nu metal to their current thrash metal. Crandle added another level of backing vocals and according to Tucker the band chose trash metal in order to play “harmony guitars and big angelic choruses”.
Bullet for My Valentine gained interest from Roadrunner Records, which mainly dealt with metal bands. They decided instead to sign with Sony BMG, according to Tuck, they chose Sony because, “We thought that a lot more doors would be open to us.” They produced a five track self-titled EP, which was the band’s first official release. A second EP, Hand of Blood, was released on August 22, 2005 through Trustkill Records and was only available in the US; the release contained one extra track than the self-titled EP, “4 Words (To Choke Upon).” The release received mixed reviews.
Bullet for My Valentine’s debut album, The Poison, was released on 3 October 2005 in the UK and on Valentine’s Day, 2006 in the US. The Poison was certified gold by the RIAA in January 2009. The album featured four singles: “4 Words (To Choke Upon)”, “Suffocating Under Words of Sorrow (What Can I Do)”, “All These Things I Hate (Revolve Around Me)”, and “Tears Don’t Fall”. They toured all across the world in promotion for the album, including the 2005-2006 Download Festival, where they were eventually moved to the main stage. During June 2007, Tuck suffered from laryngitis, which let to an emergency tonsillectomy in July. Bullet for My Valentine were forced to cancel several shows, including supporting Metallica for three dates on their Sick of the Studio ’07 tour on 29 June in Bilbao, 5 July in Vienna, and 8 July at the recently completed Wembley Stadium in London. Unable to speak, Tuck wrote that as soon as doctors cleared him he would be in the studio working on the band’s next album.
The band’s second release, Scream Aim Fire, was released in late January 2008. The album peaked at number 4 on the Billboard 200. The album was much more up-tempo and aggressive compared to The Poison, expanding on the band’s trash sound. Singles from Scream Aim Fire include: the title track, “Hearts Burst into Fire”, and “Waking the Demon”. In December 2008, Scream Aim Fire was re-released with four bonus tracks that were recorded during the album’s studio sessions, but with re-recorded vocal-lines.
During the summer of 2009, Bullet for My Valentine toured the States on the Mayhem Festival. This leg of their touring cycle continued to gain the band notoriety and fan base State side. In April 2010 they released their third album, Fever. It was notably absent of rock ballads like previous releases had and continued to expand upon the band’s up-tempo and aggressive style. The album contained the singles “Your Betrayal”, “The Last Fight” and “Bittersweet Memories”. The album peaked at number 3 on the Billboard charts, ending the year at number 168.
After the cycle for Fever, the band, and many others, was forced to change labels due the disbandment of Jive Records (Bullet’s current label) along with Arista Records and J Records by RCA Records. They would release future material in RCA Records. Around this time, Tucker announced that he would begin a side project which would be “metal as fuck”, influenced by bands such as Pantera and Slipknot. Side project would be called AxeWound and will feature Liam Cormier, Mike Kingswood, Joe Copcutt and Jason Bowld.
I n February 2013, the band released their fourth studio album, Temper Temper. The album was released with mixed reviews, with the titled track lead single and “Riot” already having videos on YouTube. The album also features a track titled “Tears Don’t Fall (part 2)”, a continuation of the bands previous hit single.
It is still too early to tell how well the album will fare. But one thing is for certain, Bullet for my Valentine has earned their spot in the world wide metal scene. Their influences of Metallica, Alice In Chains, Nirvana, AC/DC, Megadeth, Korn and Pantera have evidently imparted indirect wisdom that has primed the band to continue a steady climb in their career. What ever the future holds for Bullet for My Valentine, we can be sure that they will continue to pump out catchy, aggressive and technically sound music for as long as they can. And I, for one, am very pleased at the thought of that!