Date: September 29th, 2015
Venue: The Olympia, Dublin
Line-up: Bullet for my Valentine + While She Sleeps + Coldrain
Welsh metalcore titans Bullet for my Valentine make their long-awaited return in Dublin’s Olympia theatre to promote their new album Venom. Supporting them on their European tour are Sheffield juggernauts While She Sleeps and Japanese rockers Coldrain.
Opening the show was Coldrain with the title track of their most recent album The Revelation. The band was full of energy, jumping around trying to get people moving. The energy was infectious and the crowd responded in tow with plenty of screams and jumping themselves. Masato’s vocals sounded great live, almost as good as on record, and he was a very confident performer. With a new album on the horizon, their fourth called Vena releasing late October, the band was keen to play their latest single “Gone”. It was well received by the crowd with them clapping along with the opening beat. Closing with “The War is Over”, Coldrain fulfilled their duties as the opening act, the crowd were pumped and ready for the bands ahead, while hopefully making their own new fans along the way.
Chants for While She Sleeps began to ring out just before the band was due to hit the stage. I had never realised how popular they were here until I was deafened by screams as the guys started to stream out onto the stage. The guys have only been here once before a couple of years ago but their return was more than welcome by their legions of fans in the audience. Vocalist Lawrence Taylor thrived in the live environment making full use of the stage space he had to use, he never stood still for longer than a second. After a couple of songs his constant running around started to get to him and he had to take his top off before continuing with the set. “This is the Six” got a massive response from the crowd with some pits started near the front. Taylor got a little carried away later on, jumping out to the barrier and letting himself be taken away by the crowd. All the while some poor guy had to run around after him to stop the microphone wire from snagging. Before they were finished Taylor asked the crowd if they knew about their new album Brainwashed, remarking that “if you knew about it good if not you do now” before bursting into “Four Walls” to finish their set.
After a huge sing-along of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” and some screams of “Bullet!” the stage went dark. The intro track “V” was blaring over the speakers while the members of Bullet for my Valentine formed on stage to burst into “No Way Out” with a scream. Straight after the band moved into “4 Words (to Choke Upon)”and the crowd lost their minds. One thing that struck me as odd was the use of a backing tape for the muffled screams in the latter half of the track, not a huge problem but a little off-putting when one of the guys could have just done it instead.
The newer tracks sat in well with the older ones in a set filled with all the bands biggest hits, all while carefully avoiding the disastrous Temper, Temper. Things took a heavier approach with “Scream Aim Fire”, their most thrash influenced album, with the crowd screaming back with Matt at the end. As one of my personal favourites from Fever, I was glad to see “Alone” make it into the set. It gave Matt some spotlight on guitar and had some nice vocal harmonies between him and their new bassist Jamie Mathias.
At one point Matt noted that at this point the band had started to build up an extensive backlog of songs, making it harder and harder to settle on a setlist of songs. To mix it up a little the crowd were allowed to vote on the next song, the choices were between “Suffocating under Words of Sorrow” and “The Poison”. The vote was a deadlock with a tie between them, so Matt chose one person who then chose “Suffocating”, not surprising since its one of their biggest hits but it would have nice to see the other lesser played song.
Lead guitarist Michael “Padge” Paget was given his chance in the spot light with an amazing guitar solo. I always feel Padge is such an underrated guitarist and here he was giving it his all. This nicely led us into the heavy thrasher “Army of Noise”, which really had the crowd moving. The highlight of the night so far was “Tears Don’t Fall”, one of the bands biggest hits and a fan favourite for years. The crowd screamed along with Matt and lost their minds in the heavier sections, it was an amazing sight to see. The icing on the cake was when it was followed by “Hand of Blood”, a real treat for the older fans.
Closing the night with “Waking the Demon”, Matt commented “your ears will be ringing and your necks will be sore but it will be a great 5 mins” and just as he said that the crowd went insane with pits forming front and center.
Bullet for my Valentine have always thread on that fine line between metal and pop, being heavy enough for the pits and headbanging while catchy enough for some amazing melodic choruses. It all works in their favour because it makes them a formidable band in a live setting that most bands could only dream of getting the sort of fandom and reaction.