Bullet For My Valentine - Manchester Academy 1 - 21.1.06

Bullet could have done this on their own, but the Kerrang 25th year anniversary tour has become the hottest ticket in town with a support bill that is filled with the spirit of 2006 if a tad lacking at times. Ultimately it's a bill which sums up the times and while rock has had its ups and downs over the past 25 years it's never been stronger than it has now. As a collage of covers through the years gets beamed to the audience we laugh at some of those 80s fashion atrocities, weep for Cobain and be
thankful for bands like My Chemical Romance.

Both Aiden and Hawthorne Heights are at best examples of the current zeitgeist, but fail to raise the bar. It's what makes Still Remains stand out tonight. This six strong bunch of prog metallers send shivers up the spine of the fashionistas, the scenesters to whom a haircut is the be all and end all. Delicious crunching power chords, metal riffs and songs that go on for eight minutes, this band really shouldn't work but manage to win over the audience within the first 30 seconds and don't let go. If you still care about music in all its forms then check out Still Remains.

Brigends Bullet For My Valentine could be headlining the Apollo (as they undoubtedly will later this year), but they want to soak up the process of taking it level by level on their quest to revive a dormant metal scene. While fellow Welsh boys are keen to blur the boundaries between rock and pop BFMV are rock all the way delivering metal noodlings that came from Metallica, Judas Priest and Maidens previous work.

In the past they've played in Nu-Metal bands which is why its easy to criticize them for leaping on to the old skool metal revival ala Trivium, but if anything they do it better than most and its not hard to imagine them headlining Reading in a couple of years. New single "All These Things I Hate" is the closest they get to a ballad but within a couple of minutes the quiet verses have erupted like a raging inferno as the crowd throw themselves around the pit. The double whammy of "The Poison" and "Spit You Out" sends the pit into a frenzy and for the teenagers here it's the first time they've experienced a metal band in it's undiluted form, without any of the post hardcore or screamo take on the genre.

There is the question of whether they have the songs to back them up in the long run, but tonight it doesn't really matter as there are few bands who can compete with Bullet For My Valentine on the live circuit.

Words: Alex McCann
Photos: Karen McBride www.karenmcbride.com

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