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Monday 13 March 2023

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

Bullet For My Valentine, Jinjer and Atreyu, Swansea Arena, Swansea, 10.03.23

First venture to Swansea area showed me that it basically a giant theatre set up, with the 'standing' area just the bit that's left when the stands are brought back, the rest of the arena is all seated probably more for stand up or theatre performances than gigs but there we go. What I also noticed was the sound wasn't spectacular, much of it quite muddy and due to how low the stage is, the view from the floor is often quite obscured.

But anyway to the bands and this penultimate show on the tour saw openers Atreyu (8) in jovial mood, now the last few times I'd seen them I wasn't that impressed but here their love of life, interaction with fans won me over more than their traditional metalcore music. The older tracks were welcomed better than the new stuff but the band didn't seem to care as they used the closeness of the front row to the stage, for Brandon Saller to perform in the crowd for one song, he then missed a beer catch, the bassist caught one l, complained it was cider and someone bought the band four beers which they chugged. In between this frivolity they actually played some songs which got head banging and even a few pits going. Clearly a band loving their time on tour Atreyu were an impressive and fun way to start off the night.

The same can't be said for Jinjer (6) I'm afraid, after several cancellations of previous tours and shows I'd yet to see the Ukrainian groove metal band, but they have a lot of hype behind them. As they took to the stage and all eyes were on Tatiana Shmailyuk who has a great voice and is clearly the focal point of the band. But the music she growls and sings over as generic chug chug groove metalcore and blended together from about song 2. Having spoke to a fair few after the show I'm not in the minority here, perhaps it was just the excitement of Atreyu on stage but Jinjer looked like they could get out of there fast enough!

Finally it was time for the headliners who were not supporting an album so this was going to be a greatest hits set guaranteed to get the audience on side. Kicking off with Knives it was heavy right out of the box, the audio greatly increased for these four Welsh boys playing their only home country date of the tour. Continuing with the newer thrashier tracks it was Over It into Piece Of Me, before Matt Tuck told everyone this was a celebration of all their work and that opening echoed melody from Padge of 4 Words (To Choke Upon) got a huge cheer the Swansea 30 somethings singing at full voice.

The solitary cut from Venom being You Want A Battle (Here's A War), the more melodic/metalcore/emo early tunes usually followed by a heavier modern track, as Hearts Burst Into Fire again stirred the Swansea choir. Constant motion from Padge and Jamie on bass, Matt behind his mic snarling and singing aided by Jamie as Jason Bowld kept the pace and power. With the trio of All These Things I Hate (Revolve Around You), Scream Aim Fire and Suffocating Under Words Of Sorrow was enough to make older fans squeal with joy as the main set was closed by two newer songs.

Well paced and driven by some classics merged with modern day offerings, Bridgend veterans Bullet For My Valentine (9) are truly an arena band now as this mostly sold out tour shows. Concluding with Your Betrayal, Tears Don't Fall and Waking The Demon (which will be perfect on their up and coming Megadeth support tour) this was a celebration of one of Wales best metal bands.

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