REVIEW: Bullet For My Valentine – Ulster Hall, Belfast
For almost a decade Welsh rockers Bullet for My Valentine have held prime position throughout the metal world having established themselves as one the biggest bands on the planet.
Selling an astonishing 10 million albums over the course of their astounding career Bullet for My Valentine have worked relentlessly hard to achieve success. Having toured countless times including Wembley Arena the band has continued to gain fans whilst also maintaining their old ones. Announcing their fifth album ‘Venom’ in August the band started off their UK tour promoting their latest release in Belfast’s Ulster Hall on Tuesday night to a thrilled audience.
Arriving just on time for main support ‘While She Sleeps’ there is already an incredible energy pulsating throughout the hall as the band emerge on stage. The band who originally hails from Sheffield has built up a legion of fans with a few in attendance primarily there to see them perform.
It quickly becomes very clear why While She Sleeps have become so popular as an unrelenting force invades the room and chaos ensues. Performing each song with vigour and dynamism the band has quite clearly built up an amazing rapport with one another and there is great synchronicity with their movement.
Lead singer Lawrence Taylor provides deep guttural screams which paired alongside clean vocals of guitarist Sean Long make for the perfect combination. The peak is reached during the absolute set list highlight ‘Death Toll’, which has the crowd singing like a choir at the start of the song and going wild during the verses even singer Taylor is a whirlwind on stage making it one of the most memorable songs of the night.
As the crowd begin to gather to the sounds of ACDC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ there is a genuine sense of nervous anticipation as Bullet for My Valentine appear on stage. They are supported by a very impressive backdrop displaying the album cover of their latest offering ‘Venom’. Even their amps on stage reveal their name changing colour from green to blue throughout the set. Drawing heavily from all five of their albums, the Welsh rockers take their brand of arena-ready metal core and let the audience’s excitement and enthusiasm propel their tunes.
Beginning their set with ‘No Way Out’ a song taken from their newest album it was both the perfect introduction to their set and their latest release. While it was a bit of a shaky start the crowd don’t seem to notice and go mad regardless. As the band continue to warm up they charge ahead with songs such as ‘4 Words (To Choke Upon)’ and ‘You Want a Battle’ which are undeniably thrilling and highlights Matt Tucks impressive vocal register. ‘Scream Aim Fire’ increased the tempo with an inferno of melodies and thrashing breakdowns that instantly help open up frantic mosh pits in the audience and mass sing along.
After some disappointment and negativity surrounded their last album ‘Temper Temper’ Bullet for My Valentine are definitely a band who have their fair share of misery over the past few years. Regardless of this, the band have triumphed on performing now as if they could be on-stage at Wembley accentuating their determination and passion they have for their performance and music something that is very visible for fans. Despite their ruthlessness in their performance this does not mean the show constantly ignored beauty for brutality. ‘The Last Fight’ for example, proved a poignant rock ballad shrouded in glimmering guitar notes and an ocean of lighters.
As a blackout envelopes Ulster Hall guitarist Michael Padget appears on stage for a quick solo which teases the audience into despair stamping their feet continuously waiting for the rest of the band to reappear. Finally, combining both powerful and melodious elements ‘Tears Don’t Fall’ succeeds as the perfect fusion as a destructive thrasher and a rousing chorus sing along from the audience. Even drummer Moose stands up from behind his drum kit to help usher people forward for final thrash although the delighted crowd don’t need any amount of convincing.
Returning to encore with ‘Your Betrayal’ their chugging guitars and melodious chorus still have the audience reeling for more despite approaching the end of their set. Finishing up ‘Waking the Demon’ – it’s fast- paced choruses and sharp guitar lines prove it to be the perfect ending to their first night on their ‘Venom’ tour. What was most impressive from Bullet’s performance was that even after almost two decades the band is still full of passion and quite clearly enjoys what they do a notion that definitely was conveyed and transferred to their fans there that night. Aine Cronin-McCartney, GiggingNI.com