Bullet For My Valentine Albums Ranked

Hate list features? Feel free to skip this article and others in this series.

Here I’ll be ranking the albums by certain bands in order from Best (actually my subjective favourite) to worst/least good (subjectively, in my opinion). Number 1 is obviously the best. The lowest number is my least favourite.

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It’s a weird trait of the metal community that we all got into a competition to claim to like the most extreme thing and forgot the reason why we got into it in the first place – catchy bands that wrote good songs. Everyone cursing out this band for being sissies or that band for being kiddy music and don’t seem to understand that the bands they curse out are sometimes faster and harder than AC/DC and Led Zeppelin or all the bands we all love at the same time as our favourite extreme bands with names like Skull Fucker, Maggot Bastards and Peadophile-Juggernaut. I mean, I like Deicide and Morbid Angel as much as the next guy, I like Mastodon and Tool a fair bit too, but I can still understand that music doesn’t always have to be super heavy, or super complex. I spent most of the last week listening to Def Leppard’s Hysteria album and loving it. Melody and poppy hooks do not always mean ‘bad.’

Even among fans who don’t just hate everything released after 1989, there seems to be a lot of hate reserved for Bullet For My Valentine. Half the people complaining that this band aren’t heavy enough and are therefore ‘not metal’ probably don’t realise that this band sounds closer to Priest and Maiden than any necro black metal or soul sapping drone metal band they praise actually does. Melodic vocals and melodic dual guitar all across this band’s discography sounds pretty metal to me. Listen to the start of ‘Skin’ on here, and tell me if it sounds more like the original sound of metal than Necophagist or Peste Noire do. If we all love Dio and Yngwie Malmsteen why do new bands have to be unlistenably heavy? Strange cognitive dissonance.

I myself definitely saw them as too girly, too watered down, too slick and too commercial when they were new. Imagine how Thrash Metal fans in the ‘80s viewed Poison, that’s the kind of suspicion I had at the time Bullet’ were on the cover of all the magazines. Even when I eventually did get over the prejudice this still is a band I would never wear a t-shirt of, or add a patch of to my jacket to sit alongside Exodus and Testament patches.  Luckily, the podcast I listened to most around 2010-2015 kept defending them and telling people like me to keep an open mind that I was receptive to giving them a fair shot when I was in university during part of that time and my friend kept pushing me on them and exposing me to them to the point I couldn’t hate them any longer. That and the fact that all the other people I knew who liked rock or metal but were five years younger than me were all madly in love with this band’s debut album. I remember being at a party and someone switched Appetite For Destruction off and put this band on instead and they all sang along to it. I was taken aback. But fair play, it was good for shaking me out of my anti-Bullet mindset.

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BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE:

01. The Poison (2005) – The original, the heaviest, the public’s favourite and arguably still the best. This album is a classic to a certain generation of British Metal fans. When it first came out, I was incredibly sceptical of this band and didn’t give it a fair chance. I saw them as too girly, too watered down, too slick and too commercial. Hey, after the opening intro, the first three songs were all absolute ragers. This wasn’t too wet or too wimpy at all! What had I been thinking all those years?! I don’t see how you could like Killswitch or Trivium but say this is a step too far. I wonder where I even got that prejudice from? Maybe it was just the times, in a word of ‘punch an emo kid day’ maybe anything with flowers in the logo was just too much for the parts of the metal community I was most into at the time (I was neck deep in discovering as much Thrash Metal as I could at the time, after leaving school and realising there was much more than Nu Metal out there).

Anyway; this is a strong album, and a heck of a lot heavier than I initially would have expected. I’m glad I did get into the band after all, even if it was a bit after their prime. I was lucky enough to later catch them live a few years ago, when they decided to play the album in full, and had a great night.  Even caught a drumstick, the first time I ever did so! There’s a great DVD from that tour which would be a great intro to the band in addition to this album.

Best songs: ‘Four Words To Choke Upon,’ ‘Her Voice Resides’ & ‘Cries In Vain.’

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02. Venom (2015) – This album is a massive return to form. It’s a shame it wasn’t a financial and critical success on a scale of the debut as it deserves to be. After the major career derailment that their fourth album was, this fifth effort absolutely nails everything. The guitars are more impressive. The choruses are great. Even the lyrics are less cringey than before. There are at least 5 songs on this record that I would put in any best-of playlist and more still that I would love to see live. It has arguably the best production job of their career, sounding both professional but also not overproduced. It is arguably the most energetic and vital sounding record they have made to date. It’s a real must-have for any fan of the band. Its hard to believe it wasn’t bigger. If this hadn’t come out directly after such a divisive and fanbase losing record it would have been much more successful.

Best songs: ‘Army Of Noise,’ ‘You Want A Battle (Here’s A War)’ & ‘No Way Out.’

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03. Fever (2010) – This album is slicker, rockier and a lot less raw than the debut, and its slower and less thrashy than the sophomore album, but the Welsh band’s third album makes up for not being stylistically what I’d usually favour with pure song-writing skill. These are just some great, easily digestible, entertaining and memorable tunes. Very much the ‘Black Album’ or ‘Countdown To Extinction’ attempt of this band’s career. Make a fun, brief, well-crafted Hard Rock version of their old style and take a stab at the big time. Festival ready songs for a band that were at this stage being called ‘’the biggest British Metal band since Iron Maiden’’ on a regular basis.

The debut may be the one that people remember the most fondly, but this is a very close second in my opinion. If you told me it was your favourite, I’d totally understand why.

I’d probably have it higher too, but some cringey lyrics make it lose a bit of shine. (Come here you naughty girl you’re such a tease /
You look so beautiful down on your knees / Keep on those high heel shoes rip off all your clothes / You smell so fucking good it makes me lose control!). Its not 1987 and this is not the sunset strip guys. I like Ratt and Motley Crue as much as the next guy, but a modern British band just can’t pull off the womanising lyrics in the way an ’80s Califonian can. Lyrics aside however, this is definitely the best of the band’s various attempts to get bigger.

Best songs: ‘Your Betrayal,’ ‘The Last Fight’ & ‘Pleasure & Pain.’

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04. Scream Aim Fire (2008) – A fine album, a fair follow-up to the debut, and features several of their best-known songs. The only problem is that there’s a bit of filler, and that they’ve simply written better albums. For people who have a bit of a prejudice about the ‘core’ side of metalcore, this one has a bit less of that. I mean, the title track with its ‘over the top, over the top’ gang chants has an almost Bay Area feel to it at times. The band were definitely keen to loose the sniffy attitude metal fans were having to them and so filled the record with much more classic metal and Thrash Metal moments, driving them much more into a Trivium or Shadows Fall side of Metalcore and less of a Killswitch side of the spectrum.

Don’t get me wrong, you won’t mistake this for the new Death Angel or Tankard album, but for people who think this is a bad Emo band for 14-year-old girls only, you may be very surprised if you actually give it a listen.

That all being said, there are a few moments on here that may drive away the Gumby die-hard Metal fans. ‘Forever & Always’ is a power ballad, that sounds like a mixture of Coheed & Cambria’s ‘From Here To Mars’ with vocal patterns from Green Day’s Kerplunk. They make up for it by following it up with the fastest and heaviest song on the album though (the only one with blast beats), so assuming you didn’t throw the disc out the window, crush a beer can on your head, and listen to Reign In Blood instead, it can still pull you back. (Although now that I joke about it, that sounds quite fun to be honest).

Best songs: ‘Scream Aim Fire,’ ‘Waking The Demon’ & ‘End Of Days.’

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05. S/T EP. (2004) – Basically, this is the same musical direction and type of material as is present on their debut full length studio album (heck, one song appears on both), just one year before, and shorter. If you like The Poison (and considering it’s a gold record, in the era when people don’t buy CDs anymore, quite a few people do) then you should absolutely pick this up. More of the same. Obviously, not quite as good as its shorter and a bit rawer in the production, but ostensibly the same ballpark and highly recommended.

I wouldn’t make it your first purchase, definitely go for one of the proper full-length studio albums, but if you are already a fan, its not worth overlooking either.

Best songs: ‘Hand Of Blood’ & ‘Cries In Vain.’

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06. Gravity (2018) – The band’s newest album has certainly divided opinion. On the one hand, it is a brave new move, a shift in style and a willingness to try new things. On the other hand, it is a cynical sell out or a confused identity crisis after their previous intentional return to form album didn’t quite return their momentum and status as highly as it should have and deserved to, so now they are forced to try something else.

I caught the band live during Download Festival 2018 when they were promoting this album, and the material did come across quite well in a live setting, but I’d be lying if I said I’d rather hear songs off this than songs off of Venom. I know a lot of people hated this album for the pop-music and electronic influence that it presented, seeing it as trying too late to ride Bring Me The Horizon’s coat tails into crossover mainstream success, but as I discussed in my review of Amo, I don’t actually mind someone trying something poppy if there are good songs that can entertain me enough.

This album is fine and I have no abject hatred of it. It’s a decent enough set of songs, in a style that isn’t my favourite, but that isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. If it had been bad, it might have been a bigger misstep. As it stands its still ok, just not the best thing they’ve done.

Best songs: ‘No Way Out,’ ‘Leap Of Faith’ & ‘Letting You Go.’

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07. Temper, Temper (2013) – Well, this album was pretty much universally critically panned, panned by fans, sold more poorly than their previous records, irrevocably dented the band’s momentum, status and public relations and when it was new, all the people five years younger than me who used to love the band wouldn’t shut up about what a car crash it was. If you have made it all the way through that overlong comma filled sentence without getting seasick, you will therefore be able to extrapolate that this is considered their worst album, and should certainly either be avoided or at least the last one you buy.

I kind of agree with the public consensus on that it is the least good thing the band have released. I may be a bit less harsh on what a massive car crash it is. I mean, the band are taking the Black Album-ening a bit too far, making it too slick, too Rock and basically turning a bit more into an American Radio Rock version of themselves than I’d like. But its not some hideous collection of unlistenable filth. Its just slightly uninspired and a bit boring and a little underdeveloped compared to their best work.

Maybe its worse to be damned with faint praise, I don’t know, but I can see merit in this. I mean, not if you have an Hellhammer tattoo and think Metallica’s ‘Fade To Black’ was an unforgivable sell out. But if you were a bullet fan before, I don’t see why the whole thing needs to go in the bin.  If I had all of the band’s material on shuffle, I wouldn’t violently pull out the earphones and chuck the player into the sea just because a track from this came on.

Best songs: ‘Leech’ ‘Saints & Sinners’ & ‘Breaking Point.’

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