Bullet For My Valentine / Asking Alexandria / While She Sleeps

British marauders capture the West Coast

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The British Invasion Tour has descended on LA, and from the noisy horde queuing up, clearly nothing less than a full-on pillaging will do.

Thankfully WHILE SHE SLEEPS [9] are on hand to initiate the mayhem and from the guttural roar of Brainwashed, it’s clear that we’re in for a showcase of skull-powdering ferocity. The Sheffield metallers administer thunderous volleys of paint-stripping riffage, hyper-aggressive tempos and the larynx-shredding vocals of frontman Loz Taylor. Bringing their full production out on the road for the first time in the US, ASKING ALEXANDRIA [7] are no longer combative, snotty upstarts, instead striking a fine balance between frenzied, high-energy showmanship and the smooth composure of veteran metallers playing to a friendly crowd. The coloured strobe lights flashing behind the band assault the first tier of the house with cornea-frying light beams, but I Won’t Give In, Breathless and The Black strike a resonant chord and the playful mugging between Ben Bruce and Denis Stoff underscores how AA Mk II appear happier and looser than we’ve seen them in years.

Asking Alexandria: still hungry for success

Asking Alexandria: still hungry for success (Image credit: Stephanie Cabral)

This tour marks BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE’s [8] first proper US headlining run and they come out blazing with the one-two sawed-off blast of V/No Way Out and Skin, from last year’s Venom. The stage is backlit by a matrix of coloured shapes, suggesting a neon psychedelic petri dish, as the band pile through one audience-erupting anthem after another including You Want A Battle? (Here’s A War) and Hand Of Blood, from their 2004 debut EP. Addressing the conspicuous absence of Michael ‘Moose’ Thomas, frontman Matt Tuck explains that their longtime drummer is sitting out the tour awaiting the birth of his child. He profusely lauds Axewound’s Jason Bowld for filling in “on late notice”, bizarrely implying that the birth of Moose’s child– after a nine-month pregnancy – was somehow a last-minute, unforeseeable circumstance.

The Welsh rockers mine their five-album catalogue for a smartly paced, 90-minute set, capped with encores Tears Don’t Fall and Waking The Demon, squarely establishing that after more than a decade of slogging it out in the trenches, Bullet have emphatically conquered the US.

Joe Daly

Hailing from San Diego, California, Joe Daly is an award-winning music journalist with over thirty years experience. Since 2010, Joe has been a regular contributor for Metal Hammer, penning cover features, news stories, album reviews and other content. Joe also writes for Classic Rock, Bass Player, Men’s Health and Outburn magazines. He has served as Music Editor for several online outlets and he has been a contributor for SPIN, the BBC and a frequent guest on several podcasts. When he’s not serenading his neighbours with black metal, Joe enjoys playing hockey, beating on his bass and fawning over his dogs.