Bullet for my valentine

Bullet For My Valentine
Tuesday 25th October 2005
Coal Exchange, Cardiff

The last time Bullet For My Valentine played Cardiff they had only a mini album to their name and although their much-vaunted live performances were growing in considerable stature no one quite expected them to be as colossal a metal force so soon. Their unique journey has been memorably catalogued in over seven years from playing pokey clubs in the South Wales valleys to sharing a stage with heroes Iron Maiden at the Reading Festival earlier this year.

A sell-out crowd at the Coal Exchange contrasted between the predominantly adolescent and glum-faced to the older, more nostalgic metal traditionalists. This is the first night of this six date tour, and it’s on their home turf. First up are Arizona Post Hardcore nutters Scary Kids Scaring Kids. At first glance you can’t see what could possibly be scary about this bunch of kids barely over twenty, but a song or two into their set and the crowd are hooked. Crazy synthed piano chords and plunging guitars twisted with unbounded lunatic energy added to catchy melodies makes SKSK the perfect start to the evening.

I wish I could be as positive about Brooklyn boys Candiria. The sound was poor and to be honest I was bored by the end of their second song. The crowd were unsure and the reaction was a bit lacklustre, though to be fair the band did work the stage well. It just sounded monotonous. Maybe we were all just too impatient for the main act to come on.

The lights go up to thunderous chants of ‘Bullet! Bullet!’ as Jay, Padge, Moose and Mattie stride on stage to the beautiful strains of the opening track of their imminent debut album The Poison. They take their positions and pause for the slightest second to take in the sight and sounds of a braying audience, before crashing feet-first into a punishing seventy-five minute set. Opening gambit ‘her voice’ was effervescent with classic British metal and at its core and a ferocious riff that instantly mangled young bodies together in an oven baked mosh pit.

They plough through fourteen songs, old and new. All delivered with an ease and confidence belaying their experience. The album was only streamed online a week or so ago but every song on it has obviously been digested and savoured already as every line is sung back in force. Meticulously delivered guitar riffs invade every corner and crevice as senses are blasted. They work the stage like they’ve been around for decades and delight the crowd with staged metal poses and power lunges. The sound is spot on too.

Hundred of flames flicker and dance as lighters are raised to the opening chords of ‘Cries in Vain’, and Mattie looks out overwhelmed as his words are echoed back up to him.

‘No Control’ is a brutal haemorrhage of twisted metal that near on incites a riot as a wreck of sweating bodies and arms heave and sway in the pit. And it’s a pretty impressive circle pit too. As it and the sound finally dies away the applause is immense. An appreciative crowd it would seem, and rightly so. The band are obviously putting everything they’ve got into tearing up the place in style. And just when you think they’re spent they come on for an earsplitting encore.

The set drew to a close with the infamous ‘Hand of blood’ – an obvious crowd favourite and a song that began the ongoing domino effect to success for BFMV.

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