Friday October 12th, Bullet For My Valentine brought their headlining tour into Los Angeles for a show at The Wiltern. The Welsh metal outfit brought a few friends along with them to add to the onslaught of in your face, power metal show. Touring in support of their latest release, Gravity on Spinefarm Records, the quartet nears the end of a month long string of U.S. dates. The late fall will see them touring Europe and Australia.
A very strange October occurrence portends the opening act for the evening. Slightly before showtime, a thunderstorm pops up out of nowhere and covers the whole southern California area. With a band named Bad Omens taking the stage first, it seems as though this may be a sign of an interesting evening. Bad Omens is a Los Angeles based quartet, that was recently downsized from a quintet. The reduction in members is due to the departure of their bass player earlier this year. Listed guitarist, Nicholas Ruffilo mans the bass. Joakim “Jolly” Karlsson holds down the solitary guitar duties. The band makes quite a large noise, even without the second guitar. They play a quick seven song set, commencing with Exit Wounds. Singer Noah Sebastian does his very best to incite the growing crowd to return some of the energy that they are throwing out. The crowd responds to his prompting and the energy in the room rises. Drummer Nick Folio contributes bold power from a minimal kit. Culminating in Glass Houses, Bad Omens relinquishes the stage to be prepared for the second act.
As the floor level of the historic Wiltern is swelling to capacity, the second act of the evening begins their short residency on the stage. We Came As Romans, presumably still reeling from the death of their lead singer, a mere six weeks prior, begin their set with Vultures With Clipped Wings. It may also be presumed that the band may be feeling like their wings have been clipped as they carry on with Dave Stephens assuming sole lead vocal responsibilities. The band plays their entire set, back lit, and mostly visible only as silhouettes. Joshua Moore, lead guitar and Lou Cotton rhythm guitar stay a bit anchored to their individual mic stands and platforms on either side of the stage. Bassist Andy Glass gallivants around the stage, matching Stephens’ animation of the performance. Drummer David Puckett, a veritable newcomer to the band, is tucked back and to the left of the stage, but makes his presence felt throughout the presentation. Stephens delivers a heartfelt and impassioned soliloquy to the audience while relating the death of their band mate near the end of the act. The crowd is left euphorically charged after the finale of the title track from their latest release, Cold Like War.
The headliners make their appearance on a stage that is in stark contrast to their 2016 tour. Last time around, the clean stage set with towers of revolving L.E.D. bars created a bright and shadowy effect on the performance. This time around, the backdrop is a floor to ceiling replica of the cover from their latest release, with standard lighting. Bullet wastes no time putting the projectile to the ticker of the now bursting at the seams, Wiltern floor. The throbbing intro to Don’t Need You , off of Gravity, brings an eruption from the Bullet faithful. Lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, Matt Tuck is the leader of the Welsh formed quartet. With a few member changes throughout the years, Tuck and lead guitarist, Michael Paget are the twin pillars of the group, since its inception. Bullet For My Valentine is a bit tough to categorize. Their music is interwoven with occasional growling, but it’s not pervasive. The elements of numerous sub-genres of metal are present within their songs. You get the growling, the hardcore guitar sound and the thumping, rapid fire drumming. Also in their music is a heavy dose of melodic choruses and more traditional, creative guitar solos, as opposed to look how fast I can play solos.
BFMV progress into their performance with Over It, another from the latest release, which is an illustration of the more melodic side of their music. Bassist and backing vocalist Jamie Mathias furnishes all of the aforementioned growling. The band rolls through a 17 tune exhibition, which seems shorter, as they do not allow much down time between songs. Crowd favorites such as Not Dead Yet and Venom are part of the metal offensive. Jason Bowld turns in a good and not too long drum solo, mid-set, as well as a nice ability to play differing styles throughout the offering. Tuck and Mathis stay closer to home throughout the show. Paget on the other hand, when not supplying backing vocals, is trekking to the edges of the stage to give the first few rows a closer look at the plying of his craft. The show culminates with Tears Don’t Fall and Waking the Demon. There is no encore for the show. Bullet completes their assault and sends the throng into the still rainy evening.
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