Metal evokes spiritual healing through encapsulating the essence behind musical aggression. It conjures up the buried emotions that we normally keep shackled within the deepest parts of ourselves, only to be brought back to the surface once provoked by another force. It’s like inhaling your first breath of fresh air after being hit by a broken wave—it’s refreshing, and it inexplicably transforms itself into a sensational eruption of all kinds of emotions. With metal, it becomes a perpetuous storm of anger, love, rage, and captivating passion.
Switching gears to their fifth album, Venom, the impetuous hellraisers of Bullet For My Valentine have reignited the violent calamity that has resided within their music since the release of their debut, The Poison, and even dating back to when they were Jeff Killed John. As they’ve nailed on each record before, Bullet For My Valentine beautifully capture the humanistic depth through their notorious instrumental and vocal ferocity. All of which contributes to being the main source of comfort through the rough times—where everything is going wrong, and the only way to build yourself back up is to fight back against what’s holding you down.
We asked for a Bullet battle, and, as declared by Matt Tuck himself, here comes a war. It’s been nearly five years since the Welsh metalheads have sparked a fire in the U.S. And, with everything leading up to this record, these guys have clearly stayed true to their heavy metal roots, with as much uncensored veracity as they started out with. The band is composed of vocalist and guitarist, Matt Tuck; guitarist, Padge Paget; drummer, Moose Thomas; and newest member and bassist, Jamie Mathias. Though they have undergone quite a few drastic changes since their last visit to the States, the band has spectacularly returned with more savagery hunger than ever.
Growing up with Bullet For My Valentine as my own personal gateway to musical euphoria, I was thrilled to have been given the opportunity to speak with frontman and lead guitarist, Matt Tuck. He hashed out some details about Venom, their ongoing This Summer’s Last Stand tour alongside Slipknot, Lamb Of God and Motionless In White, touring with a new player in the game, and the band’s overall objectives beyond this point.
Just days into their U.S. tour, Matt gives his own reflection on every aspect of being on the road and being a part of one of the greatest modern metal bands in the world.
Since you guys just got back from South America for your Raising Hell tour, how did that go?
It was awesome! We’ve only ever been to South America once—in 2010, I think it was—so it was good to back and be in one of those places, you know? Because it’s a territory where we haven’t really been to a lot. So, it was good, it was a lot of fun, but it’s kind of a grueling travel schedule because there’s a lot of early morning flights. You can do like, three shows in three days, or like four, five, and those three days are just a bit of a grueling schedule that works out like that. But it’s okay, you know? It’s a lot of fun, but it’s hard work.
I can imagine. I saw during your tour you played one song off Venom, “You Want A Battle (Here’s A War).” What have the crowd’s responses been like?
They’ve been great! It’s obviously the newer stuff. When you play, it’s always a, “How is it gonna go down?” moment, but it was fantastic, you know? All the crowd’s singing along, just everyone was super excited I think, just the vibe and the band, and being back on the road, the initial signs that everyone is just really excited for us to be back. And as are we, it’s good.
As the album release date gets closer, do you plan on previewing any other songs from Venom on This Summer’s Last Stand tour, or do you want to keep it all a surprise until then?
I think we’re gonna at least throw a couple in. For the next couple of shows, we’re just gonna keep it safe. We’ve only got 40 minutes as well—it’s pre-album shows, you know?—people aren’t gonna know the stuff, so I think we’d rather just engage the audience, rather than test out songs.
We do play “No Way Out,” and we did play “Battle” last night on the first show, which was in West Palms. I think we’re gonna take that one out and maybe put in “Army Of Noise” tonight, because I think the style of the set, kind of like for us yesterday, as good as the song is and as much as we love it, we want something a bit edgier and a bit more pacey and whatnot, so I think those will be the songs we’ll play during the entire tour. It’s a bit early and a bit tight for time, and we want to engage the crowd, and have them sing along, rather than have people standing there just listening.
That’s true. You also have a pretty loyal fanbase in the U.S. Having toured here before, what are you looking forward to the most this time?
I think it’s just reigniting our relationship with our fans, really. It’s been a couple of years since we’ve last been here, and we haven’t really done a tour like this for a long time. I think the last time we’ve done something like this was in 2010, back on the Uproar tour with Avenged Sevenfold, so it’s the first time we’ve been part of a big touring package sort of thing like this. So it’s good, we’re just excited to be part of this tour. Being active and on tour with Slipknot, it’s just an amazing, amazing thing. We’re so honored to be invited here. We’re just happy to be part of it and just excited to promote the new album and get it out in the middle of August.
Speaking of the new album, was it your guys’ aim to create a darker, more intense record this time around, or was this something that just developed on its own?
It was a bit of both, really. We knew we wanted to make a super aggressive record. We thought the time was right to reignite that fire we used to have when we were younger and just take on fans’ criticisms on the last record, really. They just wanted a heavier sounding band, you know? It’s kind of what we used to do, and for some reason along the way, things just got kind of diluted for whatever reason. But we just thought the time was right to kind of get that fury and that anger back in our music and as soon as we started writing songs with that in mind, it was just…all hell broke loose.
Obviously, a lot of things got scrapped, a lot of things got rewrote, it took a long time to get where the album is now. But putting more effort in and having to actually think about it for once was actually a really smart move.
Definitely. And as you’ve said, Venom sounds like your heaviest and most aggressive record so far. Do you feel that it’s heading in a different direction compared to your previous records?
Nah, I don’t think it’s a different direction. I just think it’s more…I don’t know. Just kind of thinking about it, we’ve always been a metal band, we’ve always had that influence and we’ve always had more special influences in our music like with Metallica and Iron Maiden. Ultimately, we’ve always just done that. We always want to keep our identity but we just thought we wanted to turn things up. We didn’t want to make the same album twice ever, and we’ve kind of done that so far.
So this time around, we just wanted to make a heavy record and we knew by doing that, it would really engage the fanbase that we had when we were a lot younger, and it’s just more exciting to do something like that. And next album, who knows what that may be, as well, you know? It’s just us trying to make things more interesting for us and our fans. Even if this album sells like a billion copies, we would never try to make it again for the sake of that. It was just us doing things because that’s what we wanted to do. Just doing it felt good and it felt natural, so we just rolled with it.
I know you guys have also added Jamie Mathias [from Revoker] to BFMV as your new bassist. But, prior to having to having him step in, were you at all nervous about having to both work on the new album, while also searching for a new addition to the band?
Not really. Jay [James, former bassist/vocalist] never really had a creative influence on anything we ever did, you know what I mean? He was just in the band, and so we weren’t nervous about writing an album without Jay or anything, because like I said, he was never really a creative force in the band. Obviously, trying to replace him while writing and making a record was…not challenging, but it was something you kind of need during the process, you know? But it was just one of those things that had to happen, and me and the boys wrote and recorded the album just the three of us and while we were doing that we were holding auditions and stuff in the studio. Then Jamie’s audition tape came in, so we got him up in the studio and we had a couple of live auditions and that was it, really. The job was done!
The transition between him and Jay has been pretty seamless. We’ve done it in a very respectful, very private manner, so there’s been no drama. So it wasn’t a rough time, but it was a challenging time trying to replace someone that’s been in the band since day one. We knew it had to be right, and thankfully Jamie came along, and even because he’s Welsh, as well, something we never thought we’d be able to get, but you know, it just worked out perfect. So, it’s all good.
With so much going on at the moment, are you guys exactly where you want to be in terms of establishing yourselves as a metal band, or do you still hope to progress and expand upon your growth a little more in the future?
Yeah, we’re always looking to progress and expand on everything. I think that’s kind of the reason why we’re still here and a lot of bands aren’t, because they just kind of give up if they don’t achieve what they want to achieve, you know? While we’ve done that, we still want to do more. There’s never a moment where we switch off wanting to achieve things. Being in a band is a grueling, long-term thing, and we’ve got to an incredible level worldwide, so we’re very happy and content, but we’re always looking to progress as musicians and songwriters, and we always want our albums to be the best they can be.
We always go on stage wanting to kill it out there, so I think just having that mindset is a key factor in doing what we do, it’s a key factor in why we’re still here, which has been awhile now.
What’s next for your guys after the tour ends in November?
Just more of the same, really! We’ve got extensive global touring. As of now, we’re gonna be here for the next several weeks on this tour. We go back to South America straight away from this, then we’ve got a couple of weeks at home. We have a huge U.K. European tour throughout October and November, we go to Ozzfest in Japan for November, we have a bit of time off for Christmas, and then we’ve got a U.S. headline tour being boosted as we speak. We’ve just got loads of stuff booked, so right now, it’s crazy!
Bullet For My Valentine will be playing Aug. 5 at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ just before Venom‘s release date, which is set for Aug. 14. For more information, check out the band’s website, bulletformyvalentine.com.