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By Andy Argyrakis
Bullet For My Valentine -
Cranking up the metal edge old school style
"One on One"
Aug. 29, 2008
In the classic, cyclical pattern of the music industry, heavy metal was ruled dead when Nirvana and its alternative counterparts ushered in the grunge movement, but these days, the genre's ramping up momentum yet again. Though its yet to match the initial high hair pinnacle of Guns N' Roses or Metallica, cranking up the guitars loud and proud is coming back in style thanks to multiple-band bills like Ozzfest and Taste of Chaos, the latter of which features modern day mavens Avenged Sevenfold, Atreyu and Bullet For My Valentine on the main stage."
For the South Wales-bred boys in Bullet, the revival not only finds the foursome amassing a substantial audience in America and overseas, but led 2005's debut The Poison to over a million in sales. Though it remains to be seen what the new Scream Aim Fire (20-20/Jive/Sony BMG) will pull in for the long run, the sophomore effort landed at an impressive number four on the Billboard 200. "Music kind of goes in cycles, at least that's my vision," says Bullet For My Valentine drummer Michael "Moose" Thomas just prior to a UK sound check. "In the next ten years, maybe nu metal might come around again. Right now, 80s pop music is back in the UK and you can tell its [been influenced] by the 80s even though it's mixed with elements of today. Almost all music goes in circles and it's all coming back again.""
For Thomas and his band mates, that point of retro connection dates back even further to childhood influences like hard rock stalwarts Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, who've also found fame with younger generations thanks to slots on Ozzfest. Though Bullet's yet to share the stage with Priest, the group did appear alongside Maiden, Roses and Metallica in gargantuan international festival settings. "We were completely honored to play with all those bands," verifies Thomas. "If it wasn't for what those bands were doing before us, we wouldn't be able to do what we do today. So to meet them and play with them is the highest honor!""
The gang is also excited about the current crop of collaborators, such as the aforementioned tour mates. Though Taste of Chaos will be everyone's first American outing together, all the acts are already acquainted thanks to similar festival rounds. "Basically we got on Taste of Chaos after our American manager said we'd been offered it, plus the timing lined up with our new CD," he continues. "We're really excited to be a part of it, especially after doing a lot of European festivals with Avenged Sevenfold in 2006. We also spent some time with Atreyu in the early days and we hang out really well together.""
" Outside of rekindling past relationships, Bullet is poised to debut several tunes from Scream Aim Fire with a small sprinkling from the previous project. According to Thomas, fan feedback has been overwhelmingly strong, though he does admit that a few faithful followers still prefer The Poison. But he affirms the band will make even the most die-hard appreciators of that disc change their minds, if only for the evolutionary strides presented from each of the players.
"The quality of our songs have gotten better and our ability to play our instruments has gone up a hundred percent," he confirms. "It's kind of strange how big we've gotten in the States, especially after working our way through the underground, but I think at the end of the day it has to do with the quality of songs. Scream Aim Fire is a very aggressive but still very melodic metal record. There's a flavor of classic British metal and a new flavor of today."
Even with the acclaim out of the gate, the guys won't be resting on their laurels anytime soon, hitting the road non-stop throughout the end of 2008. All the while, they'll keep a cauldron of new songs brewing so they're ready to go with the next release, rather than rushing at the last minute. The non-stop activity certainly has workaholic undertones, but even amidst all the insanity, there's still a sliver of time for in house fraternization."
"After Taste of Chaos, we fly to Japan, then New Zealand, then Australia and then a festival run in Europe," traces Thomas. "We're back to the States after that and then back to Europe, which means we're pretty much on the road all year. But we're pretty grounded people and we're really close friends. Plus we all like drinking together and we recover pretty quick. Our bodies are used to it!"
Bullet For My Valentine performs at Q101's Block Party on Sunday, September 14 (www.Q101.com).