You wouldn’t expect a troupe of aggressive metal-heads from Wales to be tossing off a spot-on rendering of the “Let’s go, Buffalo!” refrain so popular at Sabres games. One wouldn’t imagine that such things make the leap between cultures. But then, such was the fast camaraderie between band and audience during Friday’s Bullet for My Valentine show at the Town Ballroom that such impromptu happenings seemed as if they’d been rehearsed and were meant to be.
“This is the most fun we’ve had at a show on this tour,” barked frontman Matthew Tuck just before the band’s encore, and he certainly seemed to mean it.
Bullet for My Valentine has been widely hailed as one of the most powerful and significant of the latest generation of heavy metal bands. Since the release of its debut effort, “The Poison,” in 2006, the group has amassed a significant following in both Europe and the United States, selling some 4 million albums in the process.
Tours with the likes of Rob Zombie and appearances at major metal festivals across the globe have cemented the band’s reputation, and the sold-out Town Ballroom appeared to be made up solely of the BFMV faithful.
From the moment the lights went down, the crowd was on fire, chanting “Bullet! Bullet!” in unison. When a banner at the rear of the stage was unfurled to reveal a pair of bloodied hands beneath the BFMV logo, the room exploded with a roar of approval.
And then BFMV was off, straight into “Breaking Point,” Tuck manning his Flying V like a battle axe, flanked by guitarist Michael Paget on his right and bassist/vocalist Jason James on his left. The sound generated by the quartet could’ve handily filled an arena, to say nothing of the 1,000-person capacity Town Ballroom, yet even at such brain-rattling decibels, BFMV was presented cleanly and crisply, with a pleasing balance between rounded-off high end and chest-thumping lows.
“Your Betrayal” followed, and by this point, band and audience had fused into one – the throng, a fair percentage of its members adorned in official Valentine apparel, seemed to know every lyric, every thundering double-bass figure, every shift in meter and intensity, and it showed its approval physically and viscerally.
At Tuck’s urging, a mosh pit developed on the floor in front of the stage, but it never got particularly violent; everyone seemed to be having fun.
“Waking the Demon” offered a worthy example of the BFMV blueprint, with its blend of Metallica-inspired thrash and a melodic metal chorus figure. Particularly pleasing were the occasional twin-guitar harmonies indulged in by Tuck and Paget, recalling a metallic take on the influence of Thin Lizzy.
Though BFMV is not a particularly unique band – its influences are easy to spot and, occasionally, the Metallica overtones are a bit too obvious – it is indeed an exciting and, within the confines of the metal genre, dynamic one. Friday’s show was muscular, aggressive and passionately performed. Which, it seems, is exactly what the fans who made the show a sell-out were hoping for.