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Thursday 11 November 2021

A View From The Back Of The Room: Bullet For My Valentine (Live Review By Matt Bladen)

Bullet For My Valentine, Tesseract & Bleed From Within, Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, 07/11/2021

The first Motorpoint Arena gig of 2021 was headlined by the Welsh metal stalwarts with a decent line up in support. So it was once again into the 'shed' for another evening of metal.

Earplugs in and first up, not long after door opening were Glaswegian metalcore/groove metal band Bleed From Within (6) who stormed the stage with their brand of breakdown infused aggressive metal. Vocalist Scott Kennedy stalked the stage and barked down the mic inciting circle pits and walls of death from only the scene d song in. Having seen the band before I know what they can do and I also know that they aren't the sort of thing I usually like. However they did an admirable job of warming up the crowd as many of the Bullet faithful were clearly fans.

Next however was the odd band out on the bill, modern prog metal men Tesseract (8), who's stripped back, all strobe light stage set up made it a nightmare for any photographers, but became part of the great visuals the band bring to their stage performance, well aware that prog/Djent can be a little stationary due to the technical prowess involved. That being said Dan Tompkins is always a visual feast as well as an aural one he moves around the stage totally involved with what he's singing as his voice continues to be one of the best in the business. 

The propulsive palm muted riffs of James Monteith (guitar) and Amos Williams (bass) drove earlier groovers such as Concealing Fate Parts 2 & 3 and Of Mind - Nocturne while Alec 'Acle' Kahney's lead guitar melodies and counterpoints make songs like Orbital and Juno soar. With this heavy yet melodic balance, drummer Jay Postones has his work cut out for him however due to the Motorpoint's sound mix his drumming was louder than most of what was going on, so it was a relief he is an excellent drummer. Tesseract knew that they were probably the least known band on this bill so they crafted a set that showcased all their facets while retaining their heaviness.

The audience then dove out to the smoking area as the 30 minute change over came. As they cam back the excitement was building, and though not a sell out gig (it was a Sunday night) the fans that were in the Motorpoint were those that are fanatical about the band. This was witnessed by every song being greeted like an old friend even the newest ones that had only been released few days previously. After the building intro of previous songs through a radio static the show kicked off with the opening riff to Parasite and Bullet For My Valentine (8) stormed the stage. It was loud, heavy and aggressive, Matt Tuck and Jamie Mathias sharing harsh vocals as Tuck's cleans cut in with the choruses. 

Live these new songs come to life with a pace and viciousness, nearly all the songs from their self titled record were excellent live and event the heavier moments of Gravity came across well, though they did choose one of the slower moments which broke the momentum a little but it was quickly followed by a classic. Speaking of classics, BFMV were clearly confident with their newer albums as the majority of the set came from there. We did however also get two from Venom and Fever, big singalongs Last Fight and Your Betrayal, 3 from Scream Aim Fire, which included the title track and thrashfest Waking The Demon though still it was those The Poison classics 4 Words To Choke Upon (Look At Me Now) and Tears Don't Fall that got the biggest reaction. 

With engaging backing screens, the music kept you involved, Jamie Mathias is the ideal thrashy rhythm foil for Matt Tuck's riffs as drummer Jason Bowld adds a tightness to the songs with his powerful drumming style. Tuck moves all over the stage with several mics positioned Hetfield style so he can sing anywhere while on stage right is Michael Padget who's lead playing and solos are used very effectively on the newer material especially. 

BFMV are now a fully fledged arena band, and they have been for a while now but with their latest album on display here in this hometown show, it's obvious to anyone who has followed the band that the genre ambiguity of their past has gone and they have now returned to being a heavy metal band!

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