Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Bullet for My Valentine at the PlayStation Theater

Matt Tuck
Matt Tuck was 14 years old and living in his native Bridgend, Wales, when he discovered Metallica's video for "Enter Sandman" and decided to learn to play guitar. While working in a record chain four years later in 1998, he and three college friends formed a band, Jeff Killed John, and covered songs by Metallica and Nirvana in the Cardiff music scene. Over time, Jeff Killed John recorded and circulated several original nu metal songs. After a personnel change in 2003, the remaining musicians changed the band name to Bullet for My Valentine and reworked their musical strategy; the musicians decided to play heavy metal songs with harmony guitars and big choruses. Bullet for My Valentine's four albums together have sold over one million albums in the United States and over 5,000,000 albums worldwide. Bullet for My Valentine's fifth album, Venom, was released on February 8, 2016. The band presently is composed of original members Tuck (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Michael Paget (lead guitar, backing vocals), and Michael "Moose" Thomas (drums), plus a recent addition, Jamie Mathias (bass guitar), formerly of metal band Revoker.

At the PlayStation Theater tonight, drummer Jason Bowld of AxeWound, Tuck's side band, sat in for Michael Thomas, whose wife was expecting a baby. Amid strobing white lights, the front line took its positions along the wide stage, spread its legs widely, leaned back at the knees, and ripped through the thrashing opening to "No Way Out" from the most recent album. Right from the start, Bullet for My Valentine mastered the best in new and old metal -- thrash metal's clean, guitar-shredding leads, speed metal's aggressive and propulsive energy, metalcore's crunching sonic intensity, nu metal's dynamic blast beats, and classic rock's melodic verses and choruses. Tuck alternated smooth and gritty vocals, then escalated to a crescendo with strategically-placed death metal growls. The momentum barely took a breather until Tuck began "The Last Fight" alone on guitar and vocals, with only the audience assisting on the first verse and chorus. The band then picked up the speed again for another series of fierce crowd boilers. Bullet for My Valentine had something impressive for every stream of metal fan.

Visit Bullet for My Valentine at www.bulletformyvalentine.com.