Bullet For My Valentine live review - Brixton Academy, London

Welsh wunderkids relive their debut album

Bullet For My Valentine's Matt Tuck on stage at Brixton Academy
(Image: © Jake Owens)

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It’s been 11 years since Bullet For My Valentine’s debut The Poison first propelled them to this most iconic of London stages. Tonight the Welsh quartet are here to play it in full and it’s testament to the strength of that album that a huge queue is waiting outside the Academy in the pouring rain a good hour before doors open.

Opening are nu metallers CANE HILL [7], brandishing some stone-cold pit-starters in Fountain Of Youth and Time Bomb. What they don’t have, however, is a sound of their own, channelling everyone from Drowning Pool, to Korn to Marilyn Manson. Given KILLSWITCH ENGAGE [9] are widely considered the godfathers and pinnacle of modern metalcore, their presence here is a real coup. From a savage My Curse to crushing closer In Due Time, they’re on blistering form, exploding in a fiery moshball of animalistic power and potent aggression. Jesse Leach’s impassioned vocal hooks are so deftly entwined with glorious guitarwork by Joel Stroetzel and Adam Dutkiewicz, it’s hard to believe he ever left the band, while Until The Day and Hate By Design, from latest album Incarnate, maintain their monstrous, serrated sound that’s remained undiluted and unsurpassable for 14 years.

Jesse Leach: “Follow this, Bullet!”

Jesse Leach: “Follow this, Bullet!” (Image credit: Jake Owens)

After that, you have to worry for the headliners, but as red lights bathe the stage and the crowd go barmy for the first climatic strains of Intro, it’s clear no band is upstaging BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE [9] tonight. The Poison turned them into superstars for a reason – every song is a modern metal classic undimmed by age. The set flies by in the blink of an eye; Hit The Floor and 10 Years Today have only ever been played a handful of times and are greeted by feverish headbanging and circlepits. Vocals from frontman Matt Tuck and new bassist Jamie Mathias sound particularly lacerating on 4 Words (To Choke Upon) while the bellowing of the crowd during an epic Tears Don’t Fall threatens to blow the roof off. It’s tough to top an airing of your best work to date but the band refuse to finish tonight resting on past glories. Instead, they end it with the dark decadence of brand new single Don’t Need You, a bold move and clear intimation; Bullet’s halcyon days aren’t behind them, they’re heading into 2017 with their best yet to come.

Dannii Leivers

Danniii Leivers writes for Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog, The Guardian, NME, Alternative Press, Rock Sound, The Line Of Best Fit and more. She loves the 90s, and is happy where the sea is bluest.