Published Jun 26, 2018For many heavy metal enthusiasts, Bullet for my Valentine served as a entry point into the genre, typically offering metal's aggressive tendencies in a more palatable way. The screaming, breakdowns and face-melting riffs were always present, but offset by pop-like refrains and leads that favoured melody over cacophony.
On Gravity, the Welsh group's sixth full-length album, the pop-like influences seem to have spread well beyond the confines of each chorus, becoming deeply rooted throughout the entirety of the album.
In an attempt to reach wider audiences and grow further in popularity, the band's sound has drastically evolved. BFMV lead vocalist and overall commander, Matt Tuck, even admitted: "Gravity feels like our best opportunity to headline Download [Festival]. Until I'm headlining those festivals, I'm not satisfied." This sentiment is glaringly apparent from the album's onset.
The lead track, "Leap of Faith," rolls in with a pulsing synth beat that is easily mistaken for an intro bit until you realize the synth is here to stay. The rhythmic synth only yields to another lead synth, which accompanies the song's chorus. The two synth bits alternate before a breakdown is obligatorily forced into the mid-section, over which — you guessed it — another lead synth soars.
The two tracks that follow — "Over It" and "Letting You Go" — use BFMV's new toy a little more sparingly, before "Not Dead Yet" cements the new addition as a mainstay. "Piece of Me" is most comparable to the BFMV of old, falling midway through the album; however, it's surrounded on either side by a collection of anthemic stadium rock hits that employ crowd chants and catchy hooks in a desperate attempt to land the next big festival hit.
Admittedly, the newly implemented formula works as intended: the tracks are easily digestible and regrettably catchy. Metal purists, however, are unlikely to find anything other than frustration on Gravity, but perhaps BFMV will successfully serve as a foyer into heavy music once again for a new generation of festival attendees. (Spinefarm)