Monday, February 18, 2013

Bullet For My Valentine: Temper Temper

Okay, somehow it's Monday yet again, and my three-year-old has decided to celebrate that fact by giving me a new nickname.  Usually, he looks his little brother sweetly in the eyes and says "I love you, peanut butter baby!"  Today, however, he picked me instead, but only after he changed the phrase to "I love you, carrion mama!"  Which seems fitting, given the fact that this new Bullet For My Valentine album features a a bloody, heart-shaped pair of hands (which is CLEARLY all that remains of this guy's carrion snack).

Anyway, once again I didn't know anything about this metalcore band before today, and I've mostly relied on Wikipedia for my two-minute lesson.  So, in short: they're Welsh, they're dudes, and lead singer Matthew Tuck is quoted as saying "We're more interested in what our music sounds like than what our fucking hair looks like" when asked something about looking commercial.  So I don't think they spend a lot of time at the barber's.  Oh, and I found an interview with lead guitarist Michael Paget on Thrash Hits where I learned that this record is different because "it's really stripped back" and that song "Leech" is about an unnamed person that the band actually knows, who I'm also choosing to believe is wrestling star Chris Jericho because his name also appears in the interview so I know they know him (I realize this is unlikely, but I like the idea, mostly because when I googled "Chris Jericho's signature move", I came up with the info that it's the Walls of Jericho, fka the Liontamer, which is a higher version of the Boston Crab, which is the ONLY wrestling move I know at all because my father tried to perform it on me once, and the memory will live with me FOREVER [no, really]).  Where was I again?  Oh yeah, Welsh metal...

So.  As far as the music goes - in general, this album mixes the slick, hard-edged but riffy and melodic sensibility of later Metallica with a polished vocal style à la Incubus and a whiff of Alice In Chains (but just a whiff).   And while there are purists who might not dig that particular blend, I like a bit of melody, and on a purely instrumental basis I found this record to be an interesting listen.  Of course, once I'm talking about "purely instrumental basis", you know there's got to be a problem somewhere.  Here, it's the fact that the lyrics are so trite and expected that their weakness eclipses almost everything that the musical combination could be - while the musicians are clearly talented, and know how to write a commercially-appealing and catchy rough-'n'-tumble tune, it's impossible to take any of the tracks seriously when they contain sentences like "Your invitation it doesn't exist/So tell me why you keep crashing the party" (from "Leech").  Another example of this is title track "Temper Temper", which begins with a fast-paced, sproing-ing guitar intro that puts the "metal" in "metalcore" before it bogs down in the lyrics, which are very similar to something I might have penned in the margins of my history textbook during an especially boring 7th grade social studies class ("Temper temper, time to explode/Feels good when I lose control").  That being said, I recognize the fact that this might not be a problem for the non-lyrically-minded, or for a dude who revels in vague and universal sentiments.  For the carrion mama, however, it is.

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