Bullet for My Valentine_Scream Aim FireEvery once in a while the metal scene collectively pisses on a band or record and someone needs to step up and defend why they like it. We normally don’t spend a lot of time defending shitty records, but sometimes genuinely interesting or good records get lampooned by an overly conservative heavy metal scene and that calls for a professional contrarian to defend it! If ever there were professional contrarians, it would be the staff of AMG. So here we are to re-hash a record from our past that (some of us) love that everyone else seems to have soured on (or never liked in the first place).

Those trve metalheads knowledgeable beyond the commercial veneer offered by (insert famous bands here) generally object to metalcore. Who can stand the staccato breakdowns? The hyper-modern, brick-walled production? The haircuts? But worst of all, the popularity? Who could possibly support a band who have seen sufficient success to earn a respectable living off their work? The greedy bastards. Those with sufficiently open minds to acknowledge Wales’s second most popular rock export (we don’t talk about the other one…) will limit their superior views to the début The Poison. After that they sold out and got shit. Not only am I here to defend said sequel, I’m here to hail it as one of the greatest works in metalcore! What could be more indefensible than that?

Scream Aim Fire by Bullet For My Valentine does nothing new. By 2008, the scene was already densely populated – arguably overpopulated – with Killswitch Engage- and All That Remains-wannabes and the record was stylistically very similar to their American forebears. Almost every track is structurally identical, adhering to the age-old verse-chorus-verse format. Pre-choruses are almost as hooky as the choruses themselves and the brief instrumental passages prefacing the final, epic refrains repeatedly feature similar guitar solos. It’s all polished to a gleaming shine and presented with as many breakdowns as you can squash into 52 minutes.

It’s a testament, then, to the sticking power of the melodies here that this record made such an impression on my young mind and continues to be my go-to for metalcore (challenged only by Parkway Drive‘s Horizons and the recent Fortitude by Feed Her to the Sharks). The Gothenburg-inspired intro to the titular opening track is a statement of intent, as are the simplistic but enjoyable rolling drums used to ramp up the intensity. Other notable leads at the heavier end include those on “Take it Out On Me,” “End of Days” and “Waking the Demon,” all of which offer heavy but catchy rhythms to immediately engage the ADHD-afflicted listener. There are no throwaway riffs and everything is thoroughly engaging and intended to induce maximum head-banging.

bullet-for-my-valentine_2015

At the more melodic end (though there isn’t anything here which isn’t ‘melodic’), Scream Aim Fire is arguably even better. The bathos-drenched intro on “Forever and Always” is exactly as schmaltzy as its title suggests but endlessly entertaining, and Matt Tuck’s lyrics instantaneously memorable – “Whoooooah, forget about the shit that we’ve been through! I wanna stay here forever and always.” The ridiculous but ridiculously catchy “Hearts Burst into Fire” was an absolute favorite from my teenage years with its introductory power chords and clean choruses culminating in one final attempt at making something, anything, sincere out of its absurd title – “when hearts burst into FIRE!”

The real highlight comes in the form of the third single, “Waking the Demon.” The heaviest passage of the album, the first half of this song, is juxtaposed with an orgasmic transition into an epic guitar melody and soaring vocals, draped in all the melodrama and appeals to an overly-emotional teenage audience that anyone could ever desire. I almost hate myself for loving something so gushy but when they nail the melodies this hard into your psyche it’s impossible to deny.

Hate and reject me if you must but I find it difficult to believe that someone can’t be drawn by the populist appeal of the chugging rhythms combined with insane hooks here. If you want somewhere to start with Bullet For My Valentine, start here. I do also recommend The Poison, which is somewhat more ‘respectable’ for its ‘grittier’ tone and ‘darker’ lyrics, but don’t bother past these. Afterwards they sold out and got shit.


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  • RF2000

    there’s nothing wrong with gateway bands.

    • sir_c

      As long as it remains closed, the gateway

      • basenjibrian

        I Am the Guardian of Forever! Through my gateway you can visit many times!

      • eloli

        Yes, that’s exactly what the scene needs, even less people listening to metal and more obscure bands that only huge geeks give a shit about.

        • MelbCro

          sounds good to me mr salty

  • brutal_sushi

    If I want hooks and chuggs for days, I don’t look for metalcore. I go straight to Mercenary.

  • Kronos

    I hated this album when I was in its target demographic and I still hate it today. Few men are braver or more foolish than El Cuervo.

    • El_Cuervo

      Is it because they’re Welsh? You xenophobe.

  • This is one of those bands where some of the music is pretty good but the whiny vocals ruin it for me.

  • Alexandre Barata

    If you can make a complete and coherent argument about how this is the best Metalcore album evah, I believe in you. That doesn’t take it out of the mud that metalcore is, but at least it must be less boring/bad/whiny than the rest

    • Alexandre Barata

      Also I call Bs on this! TwintyInchBurial’s debut is probably the only album I enjoyed from the Metalcore scene, maybe because I was 16 at the time and I was very pissed with everyone!!! (I also call Bs on me as I have bought the Blacksunrise’s debut and I still enjoy it until today…)

      • Reese Burns

        Not really fair to write off an entire genre like that. Friendly recommendation: check out Bury Tomorrow, they’re metalcore for people who don’t like Metalcore. Never hurts to try something new! :)

        • Alexandre Barata

          I don’t write it off, I can see the appeal on it, even on the most melodic/emo bands. But other than a couple of bands that were more visceral, more brutal than emo, more hardcore than melo death, I can’t like the genre (and Deathcore is a title I completely loathe, although I can see why people do like it). It’s just the same with some other titles, if I see Nu-Metal written as a label of a band’s sound I’ll discard it, although I love (and feel ashamed of it) Korn’s Untouchables. The same goes for any band compared to Dream Theatre, I just see that as a “extreme wankery” label

      • RuySan

        Twenty Inch Burial were great, no shame in that. That Samantha Fox cover was the tits! Especially live.
        I’m sure they would have gotten huge if they were american or British.

        • Alexandre Barata

          The energy on them is infectious. I knew them when they released the debut, and although I know I was 15 at the time, I still think that’s one of the pearls in the mud that I tend to consider metalcore.

      • Reese Burns

        I just feel that any genre, even ones I typically don’t like quite as much as I do other genres, such as alt-metal for example, have music that’s worth looking for, even if 90% of the bands you find aren’t. In fact, my favourite band, Avenged Sevenfold is for sure the odd one out in my music collection, most of my other go-to bands are vintage black metal or 90’s death metal, but I’m glad I looked around enough to find them. But to each their own, nothing more subjective than musical taste!

  • You wot m8?

    Had to go and cleanse myself with Dodecahedron after listening to the embedded track… *shudders inwardly*

    In all seriousness, I’ve always felt that the scoffing that we, as the trve, tend to direct at the more pop-influenced “metal” bands out there is mostly healthy. Most of these bands are, without question, piles of preteen-catered feces. Once you have put in the time and effort to learn an appreciation for the better side of metal, there is little reason to go back. However, the attitude that some people are somehow angry that these bands exist is just silly as all hell.

    Without these “intermediary” bands between the popular and the belligerently obscure, there wouldn’t be too many new metalheads at any time. Generally, people don’t just throw themselves into the densely hyperviolent maelstrom that is the trve metal scene. People need a bridge to cross. Personally, I went from a hip-hop / rap nerd in junior-high, to a devout worshiper of anything that sounded like Disturbed in high school, to the snobbiest of the kvlt, the br00tal, and the tr00 since I began my higher education.

    I was never a fan of this particular brand of band, and I never will be, but I guess I can appreciate the lasting effects of pop-core on the size of the metal population. Do your thing, metalcore. Do your thing. Just don’t make me listen to it.

    • El_Cuervo

      A very mature outlook.

      • You wot m8?

        Why thank you, sir. Though I’m unlikely to pick up the album, I enjoyed your review nonetheless.

    • eloli

      BFMV has its moments.
      Dodecahedron, on the other hand, is boring and pretentious, probably the worst ten bucks I’ve ever spent on a CD.
      There’s a reason so many bands are belligerently obscure, and that’s because they can’t write a decent song to save their sorry asses.
      As my girlfriend told me almost two decades ago, “look, listening to obscure, barely listenable noise doesn’t make you special, it makes you super boring”. Smart girl, had to marry her after that. :D

      • MelbCro

        dude you really like that salt, I’m concerned as it isn’t good for you health

        • eloli

          I’m not getting your in-joke, would you care to explain it?

          • MelbCro

            You are being salty, what’s there to be explained?

          • eloli

            I’m not familiar with that idiom.
            I’m a native Spanish speaker, in some parts of Latin America, “salado” (salty), colloquially means a real unlucky guy, in others, a tough, imposing guy, and in others, a really shitty situation.

          • Philip Pledger

            This particular idiom is more of an internet thing. In this context being salty is being bitter or upset, and is usually used to comment on someone’s frustration. It’s using salty as in the salt from tears.

          • eloli

            Thanks for the clarification.
            I’m neither bitter nor upset, if that’s what’s being implied. :D

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            I love the term salty, it’s hilarious. I can’t say for sure but it may also have something to do with a “salty runback”, which is when someone loses at a fighting game, gets mad, and immediately demands a rematch.

      • André Snyde Lopes

        There is a reason bands are “belligerently obscure”, it’s called having a niche audience.

        Dodecahedron can’t write a decent song? I think the words you are looking for are “I don’t like Dodecahedron”. You commented before that you also didn’t like Deathspell Omega so why did you spend those ten bucks? Especially when there are 2 songs available on bandcamp and the whole album is on youtube?

        I’d like to think you’re not trolling (this ain’t MetalSucks after all) but then again, if you were trolling at least you could hide your ignorance behind that excuse.

        • eloli

          You commented before that you also didn’t like Deathspell Omega so why did you spend those ten bucks? Especially when there are 2 songs available on bandcamp and the whole album is on youtube?

          Good question.
          Most of the times when a band is praised everywhere, like Dodecahedron is, I think that over time and through careful, unbiased listened, I’ll eventually “get” it, that’s why I buy music I might not particularly like, to give it a chance.

          Disagreeing is not ignorance, btw. ;)

          • André Snyde Lopes

            Look, I’m totally indiferent as to whether you like or dislike Dodecahedron or BFMV. I didn’t call you ignorant based on your tastes because that would be stupid.

            Saying stuff like “Dodecahedron can’t write songs” is the ignorant bit. You can say you find them boring and pretentious all you want and I can respect that. Making a judgement on their ability to write songs is dumb because they obviously have the talent and skill to do so and you’re at the same time inferiorizing anyone who enjoys said “badly written” songs.

            I have no clue as what this “trve metal hivemind” refers to but I’m not interested in a concept that disregards actual criticism in favor of “pfft, forget him, he’s part of the hivemind”. That’s just lazy.

            But hey, at least, your point about kvlt and tr00 vs mainstream division being a marketing ploy for gullible kids and elitists is pretty much on point. Like what you like, live and let live.

          • eloli

            Great we can agree.
            In my book, Dodecahedron can’t write songs in the sense it’s not music that you can headbang, mosh to or enjoy in your car or while running, that’s what IMO makes a “great” metal song.
            Technically, they write metal songs, and to some people, those songs are good enough, but to most, even among people who enjoy and listen to metal, they simply aren’t.
            Personally, I listen to a lot of truly “unlistenable” stuff, mostly drone and extreme doom bands, but the stuff I enjoy the most is mostly popular stuff. And that’s the crux of the matter, ultimately, the most popular bands tend to be the ones that write better songs, in the “enjoyable music” sense, not in a technique, composition or artistic innovation sense.

      • iagree84

        Me thinking I’m special because i was told that exact same thing goes out the window too. And also I’m engaged to her. Are you my long lost black half-brother or something? ?

        • eloli

          I may be your long lost overtly pale, blue eyed half brother, I’m somewhat melanin challenged to be a long lost black half brother. :D

  • Martin Roth

    This is poor rhethoric: I hate it (so you claim) because it is sucessful. I hate it because I don’t approve of the haircuts. What bollocks. It is clear that this album means something to you because it introduced you to great things, but that doesn’t mean it is great by itself. I don’t hate BFMV, they are just completely irrelevant to me. Which, I admit, is most likely irrelevant to you. But what you fail to address, and what would be, for me, the one redeeming fact, is any relevance to something great that happened in the aftermath – metalcore or beyond. No, you make it sound like a guilty pleasure, and that’s what it is – unless you are like me and don’t feel the masochistic itch.

    • El_Cuervo

      Every release has to have something great in its aftermath? Missed that note.

      Also, where is it apparent that I don’t consider this a guilty pleasure? It has no ‘scene cred’, in a genre sincerely lacking in ‘scene cred’. This entire review I’d dedicated to a guilty pleasure, that’s the entire point.

  • No one better bash my love of Krokus ever again!

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      AMG can you please make this the featured comment!

  • Pimpolho

    Thank you, Mr. Cuervo, great review. I really like this album, and kept looking forward for their next albums. It was proved to be in vain, because they all sucked ass, but this one is really good.

  • Wilhelm

    I’m not going to be mature about this; this sucks ass. I get a twisted, sickening sense in my chest (which I think is bile on the rise) when I hear the vocals. The only thing I could say for this turd of a band is that their lyrics should be Christian-themed, then that would help me better understand why they suck so bad.

  • eloli

    I’m too old for this shit.
    No, not BFMV, I mean the whole “please forgive me for liking something I shouldn’t given my credible metal writer status” trip.
    For a subculture that prides itself on independent thinking and individuality, we sure act like a pathetic hive mind most of the time

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      I agree there should be no forgiveness for liking BFMV

      • eloli

        There should be no forgiveness for not having the cojones for liking whatever you like.
        Liking BFMV is not the problem, thinking that liking BFMV is a problem is the problem. ;)

  • michael rodrigues

    this album was my gateway album! so don’t hate! it holds a special place in my heart. lol

  • FutureBeyondSatan

    I remember this crap. My girlfriend at the time tried to make me listen to this. Shortly after I told her she had some packing to do.

  • Art Saves

    The Poison will always be there best album, SAF is pretty good aswell but after it they just got stuck in a rut.

  • savafreak

    While you at it, a Justin Bieber’s “hidden Gem” and wrongfully hated album by Metalheads please

  • Satan Spawn

    This post gave me such a nostalgia rush. I grew up with BFMV, and this band was my gateway into the more heavier stuff. I haven’t looked back since I heard the abomination that was Temper Temper (or whatever the heck it’s called).

    This record definitely had it’s charm which appealed to my high school teenage mind. As I read through the song names in the article, I was singing the choruses in my head. It’s pretty memorable stuff, sure. But I guess, once you realize how simplistic and formulaic it is, the interest vanes off.

    I’m not going to revisit old BFMV records. But can’t deny the fact that I spent hours listening to these albums and ultimately, it did steer me on to proper death metal and grindcore. It’s like an Adam Sandler movie. As a kid, it’s fun to watch. But then you grow up and realize it’s not all that good.

  • Dethjesta

    Boy, that embedded song is catchy – it’ll get stuck in your head if your not careful.

  • RuySan

    I’m still from the age when Metalcore meant something like Chaos AD and Burn my Eyes. In the late 90’s it started meaning bands like Strife and Earth Crisis. But this embedded track??? It sounds like One Direction to me.

    BTW, i would totally get behind defending My Chemical Romance “The Black Parade”. Did i say that too loud? And it’s not because i was young or whatever, because I was already in my late twenties when that album was released.

    • sweetooth0

      Yeah really wish metalcore didn’t become this. Wasn’t it supposed to be metal+hardcore. To me, most of the modern “hardcore” records being put out should be called “metalcore” since they’re pretty far removed from the stuff coming out in ’82.

      • RuySan

        Hatebreed made real metalcore mainstream. Why there weren’t any other bands of the same genre getting that big, I have no idea.

        But maybe, like you said, nowadays this kind of sound is categorized as “Hardcore”, while classic Hardcore like Bad Brains or Minor Threat is just Punk Rock for the kids.

        • sweetooth0

          that seems to be the case. I’m sure most of the younger crowd would not call any of the original hardcore bands hardcore. To them Converge or any of that tough guy, breakdown heavy NY style stuff is what hardcore sounds like.

  • aaron bergman

    I always wondered what would happen if Motley Crue and Justin Bieber had a baby. Now I know.

  • Norfair Legend

    Picked up their first album on a whim, no idea why but I ended up thoroughly enjoying it, picked this one up since I like the first and was not disappointed. I think this is a very solid record from a genre that I’m generally not all that thrilled about. They shit the bed with their next few releases but the newest one sees them return somewhat back and I find myself listening to it occasionally. I’ll back you on this.

  • manimal

    Oscar Pistorius could worship a band with this name.

  • mtlman1990

    I loved this album when I was 17. I cant stand it now. Some things are best left in the past.

  • Mr T

    I was rooting for you El Cuervo. But then I played the embedded track and I too had to resort to Dodecahedron for a cleansing. I think it is the vocals. Makes me feel dirty and want to take a rape shower.

  • The main problem with the metalcore divide is older metalheads shitting on teenagers who listen to metalcore. Of course it’s maddening to watch something we mostly deem to be a bastardisation of our favourite genre be so popular with the “masses”, but it’s important to remember to be civil with the criticism. Although I think most people here wouldn’t ever sink to youtube comment levels.

    (PS I’ll wait forever for a ” defends the entire existence of Nightwish” post. Am I immature for still loving my “gateway” band? I really don’t care.)

    • Reese Burns

      I think that’s a big problem with metal in general. The older generation is a lot less receptive (for the most part) to newer bands and styles. And a side note, I still love the band that got me into metal too, Avenged Sevenfold all the way. So no worries, you’re not the only one who still likes their gateway band. :)

    • Vice-President of Hell

      there is no mature and immature bands. stupid term created by fucking elitists

  • Reese Burns

    I’ve been reading this blog for a while now, and I’ve generally been pretty impressed with how mature and un-confrontational the comment sections were, but I’m seeing a lot of people here putting down “gateway” bands for not being Tr00, or Br00tal enough. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like BFMV, but to just write them off as worthless is pretty silly. Everyone needs a band that introduces them to metal, for me it was Avenged Sevenfold, (They’re still, in fact, my favourite band, so there goes all my metal-cred, I guess) just because you don’t think they’re heavy enough doesn’t make them ‘complete shit’, as someone in the comments called them, it just means you’re not their target audience. Just try to keep that in mind, next time you feel like dismissing a band for being accessible.

    • Vice-President of Hell

      gateway bands? metal is so complicated that it need a gateway bands? first metal band i heard in my life was slayer and i don’t even knew term “metalcore” back then.

      • Reese Burns

        I don’t know what you want me to say to you other than ‘good for you’. Lots of people get into metal through softer, les abrasive sounding bands, as they often sound closer to the music they’d be used to than bands like Slayer or Carcass would. Plus in my opinion it doesn’t matter how someone gets into metal, in the end it just means one more metalhead