By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
I have been wanting to Bullet for My Valentine ever since I listened to their 2005 classic, Fever. The Welsh metal bangers helped bring the Cardiff music scene to the mainstream and have won over a legion of fans with their metalcore style. They have just released their 6th album, Gravity, which signaled a slight departure from their metalcore roots to a more alternative and nu metal sound. It was announced that they would be performing on October 10th at the Wiltern in Los Angeles, and I was determined to see them. Opening up for them were We Came as Romans and Bad Omens, the latter of which I did not get to see. While driving to L.A., a thunderstorm suddenly appeared, but I decided that would not stop me this time.
We Came as Romans has hit a rough patch later this year with the sudden death of clean vocalist and keyboardist Kyle Pavone. However, they were determined more than ever to continue on in Pavone’s memory and honor the legacy he helped create in the group. They kicked things off with “Vultures With Clipped Wings,” surrounded by fog and multi-colored lights. Dave Stephens did a fantastic job pulling double duty as both the clean and unclean vocalist. We Came as Romans was a bit of a hit-and-miss with me in the beginning because I was not quite sure what to make of them. However, as they delved deeper into their songs like “Wasted Age,” “To Plant a Seed,” “Lost in the Moment,” and “Tracing Back Roots,” I was starting to come around to their style of metalcore and post-hardcore. Josh Moore shredded some tasty lead solos, while Lou Cotton laid down some bombastic riffs. A majority of the songs they performed came off their album from last year, Cold Like War, which is also the last to feature Pavone. Before ending the night with the screamo “Cold Like War,” Stephens announced that We Came as Romans will be a starting a foundation with Pavone’s family to honor him and help those who are struggling with addiction. We Came as Romans is truly a band formed on brotherhood and friendship.
Full We Came As Romans slide show below:
After so many years of waiting, Bullet for My Valentine hit the stage with the opener, “Don’t Need You.” Frontman and rhythm player Matt Tuck was a screaming pleasure to watch with him combination of screamo and melodic singing. Though Gravity was not favored very well with the critics, the fans really enjoyed hearing the new tunes live. From “Letting You Go” to “Over It,” Bullet continued on their journey to musical maturity and rock greatness. Lead guitarist Michael “Padge” Paget had the hairs on my arms rise up as I was hearing his punishing solos. Drummer Jason Bowld filled in nicely behind the kit, especially when he hammered down a wicked solo after “Not Dead Yet.” Bassist Jamie Mathias continues to show off his dominant nature on the bass; quick as lightning, and intense as thunder. They even played the 2 songs that got me into them, “Your Betrayal” and “The Last Fight.” While most bands would have an elaborate stage setting, Bullet for My Valentine has forgone all that and just got up there with their instruments and played some passionate, extreme rock ‘n’ roll. From “Venom” to “4 Words (To Choke Upon),” “Worthless,” “Scream Aim Fire,” and “You Want a Battle? (Here’s a War),” ever last loyal Bullet fan showed them love. They even went into a 4 song encore, which included “Tears Don’t Fall” and “Waking the Demon.”
Full Bullet For My Valentine slide show below:
The storm came down pretty hard that night, but we did not care, for Bullet for My Valentine and We Came as Romans brought the storm inside the Wiltern. Sitting on top of the balcony, it shook from the fans dancing and headbanging to their favorite tunes. This was an awesome night to endure some heavy metal satisfaction. To Bullet for My Valentine and We Came as Romans, I salute you. Horns up!!!