If you’ve been following the band’s pre-release interviews in which they’ve spoken about their latest album, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what Gravity is going to sound like. They’ve discussed getting to the top of their game and wanting to get further. In their own words, they “don’t want to write the same shit anymore”. They want to be contemporary and they have headline slots at major festivals in their sights.
By Jim McKay
It sounds familiar. Bands with huge commercial success, massive fanbases, and sold-out world tours have to be driven by something other than just quality music, and often that comes in the form of pure focus and ambition. They’re driven to succeed against anything and everything, even, it seems, when there’s else nothing left to achieve… except to keep getting bigger. The band have been pretty clear about things here; they’re not making ‘old school’ metal music anymore and they no longer want to be held to those standards. Fair enough. They’re not proclaiming to be something they’re not, so it would surely be unfair to hold that against them…
But that’s easier said than done. Bullet For My Valentine are still essentially a metal band, and it’s asking a bit much to expect this album to be treated as a stand-alone, disregarding five previous releases.
So, we have to get to the point: this is really an album for the critics and the radio, not the fans. It’s compressed, it’s autotuned, it’s produced to clinical precision and it’s hard to find the ‘dynamic contrast’ the band proudly promised. It’s also catchy as hell and whole thing sounds pretty electronic. And, yes, there are definitely some parts which sound just a bit too reminiscent of other songs (you’ll see when you hear it). In short, expect no surprises from Gravity.
But in blatant self-contradiction, I still wouldn’t go so far as to say that Gravity is totally unoriginal, it just doesn’t attain the sky-high expectation of amounting to more than the sum of its parts; if anything, the part-by-part construction of this album is very much in your face.
The band described Gravity as a statement that they are not the same band they were, releasing the same music for the same people – that they’ve evolved into something that’s still contemporary, and as always, what they aimed for is what they produced. You’ll be disappointed with this album if you’re still hoping for another The Poison or Scream Aim Fire, because it’s really not. It’s the sound of a hugely successful band playing modern stadium rock and writing it by their own rules.
If, like me, you’re one of those diehard fans who finds change very hard to accept, then (like me) you’re probably just going to want to throw this album straight out the window. But Bullet know how to achieve what they set out for, and if you’re part of the audience they’ve written these songs for then it’s the kind of album you’re going to have on repeat for a while.