Bullet For My Valentine’s “Scream Aim Fire” really makes me question where metal fans are heading nowadays. It debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 when it was released earlier this year, selling 53,000 copies in its first week out. It is also the second album out of a five-album deal the band made with Sony BMG. So why exactly is this a bad thing? Simply put, this is bad because this album is one of the worst examples of modern metal I have heard so far, and should not be selling at the rate it has.
When there are so many other metalcore bands producing music far superior to that churned out by this group, I am absolutely befuddled as to why Bullet For My Valentine are as popular as they are. As I Lay Dying, Killswitch Engage, All That Remains and Shadows Fall: these are all bands that get metalcore right. Why listeners would rather listen to the love-soaked, hopeless romantic music of this band is completely beyond me.
This brings me to the vocal work on this album, one of the many things this band does wrong. Instead of indulging the listener in lyrics that have meaning or tell a story, Bullet For My Valentine sing about their usual topic: love. “I live my life in misery/ I’d sacrifice this world to hold you/ No breath left inside of me/ Shattered glass keeps falling/ Say goodnight/ Just sleep tight/ Say goodnight.” This is an example of some of the horrendously shallow lyrics to be found on this album. To make it worse, the vocalist sounds like he is whining most of the time, making him almost impossible to listen to.
But behind the vocals lies something just as awful: the instruments. It is difficult to put into words how dry everything sounds on this album, but I will try. All the instruments on every song sound exactly the same. First, there are the blast beats, then the guitars and bass chugging on the same note, followed by a generic guitar solo and finishing off with some of the worst breakdowns found in metal today. Also, three of the songs on this album are ballads, which is three more ballads than any metal release should have. How is this band supposed to get the respect of true metal fans when more than twenty five percent of their album is ballads and all of the other songs are impossible to differentiate from one another?
Every track mixes itself into one another, making a 57-minute-long song about love, loneliness and emotions. This is exactly the opposite of what a good metal album should sound like, yet it continues to outsell the better albums of other bands being released. This is why I have no respect for Bullet For My Valentine; they are corrupting the metal genre by making shallow music that is more popular than other bands that are talented.
The only slightly positive thing about this album is that the first track, “Scream Aim Fire,” can be catchy at points. This ns no way means it is memorable, only fairly easy to groove to at the time of listening.
In a word, this album is terrible. As one of the first metalcore releases of 2008, this puts the year off to a bad start. If you are a fan of dry, repetitive, love-soaked music in the vein of awful bands the likes of Atreyu, then you probably have already bought this album and boasted to your high school friends about how hardcore it is. If you like good music, then you have not bought this album and will not buy it. Stay away at all costs.