Bullet for My Valentine

Sometimes, there's no better feeling than losing control. Energy gets released; it's irresistible and infectious. That's the case on Bullet For My Valentine's fourth full-length offering, TEMPER TEMPER (RCA Records) set for release February 12, 2013. Tightening their grooves and sharpening their riffs, the Welsh quartet who has sold over 4 million albums world wide—Matt Tuck [vocals, guitar], Michael "Padge" Paget [guitar], Michael "Moose" Thomas [drums], and Jason James [bass]—fire off an incendiary collection of hard rock anthems with arena-ready bombast and metallic intensity.
After a whirlwind cycle in support of 2010's Fever, the band decided to do something a little different when the time came to record album number four. Quite appropriately on Valentine's Day 2012, Tuck and "Moose" boarded a plane for Thailand. Instead of recording in the U.S. or UK, they collectively hunkered down at Karma Sound Studios in Bang Saray with producer Don Gilmore (Linkin Park, Rob Zombie, Hollywood Undead). The experience proved inspiring and invigorating on numerous levels.
"I had a bit of an idea going into this," smiles Tuck. "It was basically 'record-as-we-go'. There were no writing or demo sessions this time around. I'd just done the same thing with my other band AxeWound, and it was so exciting and productive. So I asked the Bullet boys, 'Can we go somewhere and write and record the album?' We decided on Thailand, and it was the best decision we could've made."
For almost a month, the musicians focused on amping up every element of their patented sound. They didn't want to deviate from the foundation, but rather expand upon it. Despite taking a mere two days off to ride elephants and see tigers in their natural habitat, the setting also allowed for complete immersion in the process.
"It's always wise to step outside of your comfort zone," the frontman continues. "We didn't have to worry about anything. The studio was completely state-of-the-art, and the living quarters were fantastic. We didn't have to deal with any of the pressures or obligations that we do at home. You could wake up in the morning and go for a swim or take a jog down the beach. It was an amazing way to start every day. Everybody was in a great mood. When you're in a great mood, it encourages creativity."
At the same time, they strengthened their bond with Gilmore. After working together on the Fever, the band and producer forged a singular trust that served as an integral part of the actual sessions.
"We've got history," affirms Tuck. "We were more willing to collaborate, and we know how each other work and tick. There's an understanding between us, and that brought confidence out of me. We slowed everything down on this record. We wanted to sound fresher and bigger without playing harder and faster."
"They accomplished that mission on both the album's title track and the first single, "Riot." Beginning with a staggering beat, “Temper Temper” builds into a precise guitar attack coupled with one of the biggest hooks of their career to date.
About the song, Tuck reveals, "I wanted to say something about anger management and temper, but I didn't want to come off negatively. That's the twist. The release of negative energy is great. It feels good when you lose control. It doesn't mean you have to go smash someone's face in. You can kick a soccer ball around a field. You can pick up a guitar and rock out. As long as it's positive, let it come out."
Then, there's "Riot." Slipping from heavy to hypnotic, Tuck reflected upon the 2011 rioting and looting in the United Kingdom within the lyrics.
"The riots were on primetime news constantly," he remembers. "It was crazy how much it impacted the media. I indulged in a bit of a punk rock theme, spicing up the record with the lyrics. There are two things going on in there. The song itself is about those riots, but there's also that hard rock vibe that we'll stick together and rise up."
Everything kicks off with "Breaking Point." Forging a fast and fiery assault, the band bursts right out of the gate with intense, incisive thrashing. The singer goes on, "The song sums up the feeling of the album. Everybody has their breaking point. It's something we all share in common, and I wanted to convey that point."
They've excelled at getting their point across with a bang since forming back in Wales at the turn of the century. In 2006, they became an international phenomenon with the release of their debut album, The Poison, which became certified Gold for sales in excess of 500,000. Their second full-length, Scream Aim Fire, debuted at #4 on the Billboard Top 200.
However, the band would enjoy their highest chart debut with 2010's Fever debuting at #3 on the Billboard Top 200 and #1 on the Rock and Alternative charts. Cumulatively, sales for the group exceed four million worldwide. They've given explosive performances at both Download Festival and The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. In addition, the group has been the recipient of the Metal Hammer "Golden God" Award for "Best British" band in 2006 and 2010 and scored an impressive seven Kerrang! Awards.
However, TEMPER TEMPER signals the start of Bullet For My Valentine's biggest and best chapter yet. "We wanted to make songs that would stand the test of time," concludes Tuck. "Every track takes you on a little journey, and that's what music should do for people. We've gone through the stage of having to prove ourselves. We're men now. We want to please ourselves first and hopefully our fan base with what we do. We're not worrying about what critics think or say. We're not interested in genres or labels either. It's about doing what comes naturally. I can sleep at night knowing the boys and I have made the fucking best record we could've."

After scoring two top 10 singles ("I Get Off" and "It's Not You") from their self-titled debut and touring steadily for two years with acts as diverse as Shinedown, Stone Sour, Disturbed, Megadeth, Papa Roach, Godsmack and countless others, Pennsylvania quartet Halestorm are back with their second full-length, The Strange Case of…. Musically diverse and emotionally revealing, the album resonates with a newfound poignancy that takes Halestorm to a new level of creative achievement.

"I was extremely proud of Halestorm when we released it, and I still love it, but I think I was using mostly one musical technique throughout," explains frontwoman Lzzy Hale. "We were on 'ten,' and we blew through the songs in a safe way – or as safe as something that goes, 'I get off on you getting off on me' can be. This new record demonstrates more depth and heart. It's a lot more expressive and really lets down the barriers."

Halestorm started writing for the new record while they were on the road in 2010. Then when the band finished the Uproar Tour in May 2011, they entered the studio with producer Howard Benson (3 Doors Down, Seether, Three Days Grace) and tracked one of the heaviest songs of their career, "Love Bites (So Do I)."

"At that time, I decided, 'I'm going to scream my head off and make really gritty songs,'" Hale says. "When we finished 'Love Bites,' the engineer at Howard's studio, Bay Seven, said, 'I'm pretty sure that's the fastest song we've ever done here.'"

Excited by the escalated tempos and raw energy, Hale returned to writing mode and bashed out more anthemic rockers filled with uncompromising rhythms, soaring vocals and searing leads. Then one night at 4 a.m., after enduring a personal setback, she wrote a bare, vulnerable sounding song and recorded it on her cell phone. Flooded by emotion and maybe a glass of wine too many, she immediately emailed the unpolished song to Benson and the band's A&R man.

"The next morning I regretted having sent it because I didn't hear back from them," she says. "And then a day later they got back to me and went, 'Oh, my God, we didn't know you had this in you. Please write more songs like that.'"

Encouraged by the support and inspired by the urge to purge, Hale wrote more intimate numbers, including the sensitive piano ballad "Break In," the sparse and melancholy "In Your Room" and the mid-paced ode "Beautiful With You." She and her band mates also crafted heavier numbers, including "I Miss The Misery," with its start-stop chorus rhythm and confrontational lyrics and "Rock Show," which blazes with euphoric vocals and motivational riffs. That was when Halestorm realized the new collection of songs was somewhat schizophrenic. At first Hale was unsettled by the polarization, then she penned the song "Mz. Hyde" specifically about the two disparate sides of her personality and the album immediately swam into focus.

"When they heard that, the guys went, 'Oh my God, you are Mz. Hyde!'" Hale says. "So suddenly this predicament with having this record that had a split personality was about having a split personality. Sometimes I need a shoulder to cry on, sometimes I need to wear a pair of jeans instead of fishnets. But I also like being powerful and being a leader and yelling, 'Hello, Cleveland.'"

Halestorm recorded The Strange Case of… in three sessions with Benson. By the time they entered the studio for the last time, they had written 56 songs, which they narrowed down to the 17 they tracked. The first single "Love Bites (So Do I)" is a storming rocker that illustrates Hale's individuality, sense of humor, and willingness to represent young women in today's fast-paced society.

"I was talking to this little girl over Twitter who was going through her first breakup, and she was asking me for advice," recalls Hale, who regularly interacts with her fans online. "She typed 'Love Bites,' and I replied, 'Well, so do you, darling. You can still bite back.' It was meant to be an empowering song for people when love goes down the tubes, and I think it's a very realistic way of looking at relationships. Nobody talks about all the crap you have to do to keep something alive or just deal with your boyfriend or girlfriend. They always talk about falling in love or having your heart broken. So this is a way of saying, yes, everything can end, but it's rejuvenating to stand up and go, 'This sucks right now, but it's not going to take me down with it.'"

Other tracks, such as "You Call Me a Bitch Like it's a Bad Thing" and "Freak Like Me" turn epithets into proud slogans, while "Daughters of Darkness" is an admission that women, like men, have their dark side. "Even with the sweetest woman in the world, you click a switch somewhere, and she's a little bit crazy or she has her secrets," Hale says. "And a lot of times you see these girls let all that stuff out at our concerts, which is really gratifying."

One of the most meaningful songs on The Strange Case Of… to Halestorm is "Here's To Us," a declarative mission statement which starts with a delicate arpeggio and builds to a rousing pop/rock refrain. As much as it represents the band, "Here's to Us" was actually an afterthought. "It came together after we already thought the album was complete," Hale says. "It's our 'bottom of the ninth, bases are loaded… home run!' The song is about celebrating the ups and downs of your journey as you go along because even the bad times can be reasons to crack open the champagne."

One reason Halestorm has developed the ability to sound completely self-assured and cohesive whether they're tearing down the rafters or gently massaging a bruised psyche is because they've had plenty of time to hone their craft and celebrate their exceptional chemistry. Hale and her brother and drummer Arejay started the group more than a decade ago when she was 13 and he was just 10. From the very beginning they were in it to win it even though they paid their dues along the way. Back in the day, the members lost a talent show to a tap-dancing cowgirl, played Friendly's for free ice cream, piled the stage with homemade explosives that sometimes went off right in front of their faces, and even played at a funeral.

Halestorm's determination paid off. Before long, they were playing local bars even though they were underage. They secured guitarist Joe Hottinger in 2003 and bassist Josh Smith in 2004, and in 2005, Halestorm signed a deal with Atlantic Records and released the live EP One and Done, which included an early version of fan favorite "It's Not You." The band continued to write, tour and record and in 2009 released their self-titled full-length album. Inspired by Halestorm's exuberance and spirit, the band's loyal legions rapidly grew. They became favorites at rock radio, highlights of music festivals and friends of the multitudes of groups they opened for or headlined with. Halestorm went on to sell more than 300,000 copies.

Backing their monster riffs and euphoric choruses with pure rock and roll attitude, Halestorm followed up their eponymous release with the covers EP ReAniMate. In addition to including aggressive fist-pounders by Skid Row, Guns N' Roses and Temple of the Dog, Halestorm demonstrated their sonic scope with versions of tracks by The Beatles and Lady Gaga. The boundary-stretching was just a prelude to the muscle and sensitivity of The Strange Case Of…

"We've taken everything we can do and stretched it in both directions," Hale says. "This record goes from one song that's just vocal and piano and the lowest and softest I've ever sung all the way up to the highest notes and craziest screaming I've ever done."

As musically advanced as The Strange Case Of… is compared to Halestorm's debut, the band still has plenty of growth left in them and continue to write songs at an alarming rate. "I create all the time," Hale says. "And the four of us are working together more now, so we're really gelling better than ever. We're really excited with how far we've gotten with this album, and we can't wait to see where we can go in the future. It feels like there are no rules or boundaries, and that's the ultimate freedom."

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Bullet for My Valentine with Halestorm, Young Guns, Stars on Stereo

Sunday, April 14 · Doors 6:00 PM / Show 6:30 PM at Revolution Concert House and Event Center