Bullet For My Valentine Live in Stoke

Rewind ten years for a moment and Bullet For My Valentine, Trivium and Avenged Sevenfold were all bursting onto the metal scene with the press salivating over the prospects that this new generation of metal bands had to offer. Future headliners… taking over from the old guard etc etc.

Back here in 2015; and the old guard are still very much in charge. Bullet, like the other aforementioned bands all had a quick rise to success followed by several setbacks. Avenged Sevenfold finally got their momentum back after their problems and tragedies, Trivium are trying to regain their trajectory having recently taken on the headliner role and now Bullet For My Valentine are making a concerted effort to make waves once again.

Bullet have recently parted ways with long term bass man Jay and perhaps more notably released the well below par ‘Temper Temper’ a couple of years back. New album ‘Venom’ has gone a long way to repair that damage but Bullet are hitting the road hard this time around, rebuilding has well and truly commenced…

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It’s been a miserable old day in Stoke, but in a turn up for the books, the sun breaks through just in time for doors at Stoke Victoria Hall; ensuring the queue and spirits stay dry and high outside the venue.

This is the first time Bullet have played in Stoke. The ‘Venom’ tour is taking in lots of new markets, taking the band off the beaten track and away from the Manchester’s and the Birmingham’s where they’ve had residence over the last decade or so. Stoke welcomes them with open arms, the grand surroundings of the Victoria Hall is temporarily swamped with black t-shirts, long hair and tattoos ready for the tour to roll into town.

Bullet 12Time flies… it doesn’t seem five minutes since we were seeing Bullet as the upcoming fresh band supporting the big names such as Guns ‘n’ Roses et al. Now it’s Bullet bringing out the new talent and they couldn’t pick a more exciting pair than Coldrain and While She Sleeps.

In fact the opening bands are so boisterous they run the risk of making Bullet look a bit older than they are… Matt tuck and co. aren’t renowned for bouncing around the stage and jumping off the stacks. They do however have a tremendous arsenal of songs to hit us with…

A simple stage set up consisting of one massive V backdrop and some clever ‘Bullet’ stacks that change colour all night long await the band. As they stride onto the stage and unleash ‘No Way Out’ followed by the immortal ‘4 Words (To Choke Upon)’ the band, completed by reasonably new bass player Jamie, look relaxed and in charge up there.

Bullet 17Padge creeps around peeling off the riffs and solos whilst Moose goes at the drums like a kid in a sweet shop. Matt takes in all in his stride, never one to let his emotions go wild onstage he has a content smile on his face as he goes about his business.

Matt does take the time to thanks the fans for turning out on several occasions and he’s also up for celebrating the anniversary of ‘The Poison’

Our ears prick up momentarily… are they going to play it all… in full??

No…

“A few songs from it”

We expected that, but hell let’s hear ‘em! ‘The Poison’ and ‘Tears Don’t Fall’ both remind CB of simpler times. Maybe it’s rose-tinted thoughts, but that debut album was killer wasn’t it?

Bullet 16‘Hand Of Blood’ also gets an airing. What an absolutely huge song that still is, but before we know it they are signing off a controlled but powerful set with ‘Waking The Demon’ and then, it’s all over.

It’s a more than convincing (unofficial) comeback for Bullet For My Valentine. The new album has righted all or most of the previous wrongs and this extensive tour around the large towns and small cities looks to be the start of something much bigger for this band.

The Bridgend boys are on the up again, who knows where they’ll end up…