In the way of inspiration, there is so much that gets people into music, or that influences musicians to pick up an instrument and start to play. In terms of albums, every album released will be important to someone, somewhere for their own reasons. However, for a band with a stature such as that of Bullet For My Valentine, their debut album meant (and still does mean) so much to a damn lot of people. These The Poison shows, scattered among the usual shows on Bullet’s headline tour, are doing wonders in backing up this theory.
Before the crowd get to see The Poison in its entirety though, there are the supports in the form of Cane Hill and Killswitch Engage. Up first are Cane Hill, bringing a healthy dose of nu metal to tonight’s bill. True Love is a sleazy yet hard-hitting opener, while MGGDA probably echoes the thoughts of most Americans during current affairs- even across the ocean it’s still as furious as ever, and its message probably even still resonates somewhat with a UK crowd. You’re So Wonderful and the spaced out vibe of Strange Candy slow things down to a hazy kind of pace, while final song Time Bomb is consistently undeniable, ending the first set of the night on an explosive note.My Curse ushers the crowd into Killswitch’s part of the evening- the melody of the verses fused with the pelting riffs later in the song provide the ideal soundtrack to get everyone moving a little more. ‘Do you guys like to dance? Do you like to mosh pit? I’d like you to dance for a girl named Sharyn!’ yells Adam Dutkiewicz to the crowd- a guitarist who has more energy than everyone who will pass across the stage combined tonight. Clad in knee-pads as he hurls himself around the stage, he hurtles straight into Rose Of Sharyn, while frontman Jesse Leach takes out his ear pieces so he can hear the fervour amongst the crowd. This Is Absolution is an all-round riot, while Quiet Distress sees its debut on UK stages. The entire band seem to feed from Dutkiewicz’ energy and as a collective, maintain some unassailable spirit and vigour throughout their entire set. My Last Serenade is a flashback in time that shows the stark evolution of the band when back-to-back with newer material, but that also proves they’ve always been able to kill it musically both on record and live. If there was any doubt about it, Strength Of The Mind confirms- just as Cane Hill did before Killswitch- that this tour just has an incredibly strong line-up.The aforementioned is all well and good, however it’s time for what most of tonight’s crowd is here for- Bullet For My Valentine are about to play their debut album The Poison in full. The Intro plays out and before anyone can quite gather themselves, Bullet emerge dressed in shirt-and-tie type attire, charging headlong into Her Voice Resides. As the nostalgia well and truly sets in, 4 Words (To Choke Upon) rears its head, spurring echoes of ‘look, LOOK at me now’ around the room. Tears Don’t Fall is still always a Bullet setlist staple, however now it is no less appreciated. Judging from the atmosphere in the room, it’s fairly easy to gauge that Hit The Floor is the track many people have been waiting for; ‘are you ready for the key change?!’ screams frontman Matt Tuck before hitting the final stretch of this assault. Mellower and a welcome change of pace, All These Things I Hate still manages to pack quite the punch- ‘These Poison shows are turning out to be some of the best we’ve ever done, and this is fast turning into my favourite show we’ve ever played!’ says Tuck, hailing Manchester with some pretty heavy praise. Room 409 has to be up there with some of the greatest song intros at least of the last few years, and tonight Bullet execute it impeccably, bringing some metal groove to the floor mid-way through their set. From 10 Years Today, through Cries In Vain, the band demonstrate tonight is that there is not one filler track on their entire debut album, as the reception seems to hit new levels as the tracks power on. The End closes proceedings on The Poison part of the show; a progressive, dark serenade that melds into a dynamic and tumultuous end- wonderfully summing up the entire album in its (almost) six and a half minutes.However, Bullet aren’t finished yet. Straight into their newer material from their last album Venom, No Way Out showcases a far more concise and well-honed Bullet For My Valentine. ‘This is a good one!’ Tuck announces, ‘It’s from Scream Aim Fire!’- of course it’s Waking The Demon, which is just as much of a classic as any of the songs played tonight from The Poison. Their set may have been an hour and a half long, but the strength of Bullet’s live show, plus the absolute enthusiasm surrounding today’s setlist offering, meant it felt like the band were barely on stage for ten minutes. Judging by the reaction to these shows, as well as the clear utter delight Bullet seem to feel having the chance to play some of their first ever songs again all these years later, proves that The Poison is well on its way to being cemented as a modern metal classic.
Photos by Erin Moore at Forte Photography UK