Live Review: Bullet For My Valentine / Atreyu / Jinjer – O2 Academy, Leeds 06.03.2023

Sian Connolly

By Sian Connolly

It was a cold Monday evening when any normal person would be wrapped up in a blanket at home after having a long day at work. Well, we metalheads are just far from normal. In fact, we’re standing outside the o2 Academy in Leeds, in the freezing rain, queue as long as the train I jumped on to get here all for one band… that’s right, they’re back and better than ever; Bullet For My Valentine. Ranging from the BFMV veterans to the newer fans, the city streets were lined and ready to mosh. 

Kicking off the evening with Californian metalcore rockers, Atreyu absolutely smashes it out of the park giving us a truly brutal set. After a long time away from the UK, the quintet are more than ready to bring the house down with their impeccable, unmatchable energy. Starting it off with “Strange Powers of Prophecy”, lead singer, Brandon Saller, took it upon himself to jump off the stage halfway through the song, gliding through the pit and straight into the crowd. Legend has it, he was actually just gasping for a drink, as he stopped at the bar halfway around for a quick sip of whiskey – as you do, all whilst still performing perfectly. The show carried on with hits including “Becoming the Bull”, “Ex’s and Oh’s” and latest single, “Drowning”. The set may be short but it is indeed sweet and the band left everyone hyped for the rest of the night. 

Hailing from Ukraine, quartet progressive metal band, Jinjer put on a show to remember. Lead vocalist Tatiana Shmayluk, appeared from the shadows wearing a full-blown, glowing, neon jumpsuit. She looked incredible. Diving straight into “Who’s Gonna Be The One”, the room erupts with energy. This band feels more like a headliner than a support, the crowd just can’t get enough. From an amazing display of flashing lights to Tatiana talking to us about life in Ukraine, crying out for peace in a world of war. You could feel the passion and connection between the artists and their music with each note representing an emotion. It was pure magic. With a 10-song setlist, the show was soon coming to an end but at least we were blessed with fan favourites, “Judgement (& Punishment)” and “Vortex”. It’s clear from the cheering of the crowd, Jinjer had definitely found some new fans tonight. 

As the lights went dark, all around me stood fans eagerly waiting for their idols to take the stage. The Welsh, metalcore rockers, Bullet For My Valentine, have been titans of the metal world since dropping their first album in 2005, “The Poison”. Emerging from the darkness, frontman, Matt Tuck blesses us with that iconic smile as the screams of fans echoed around the venue.

With a 17-song setlist up ahead, diving straight into “Knives” was sure to stir up some chaos. Only one song in and the crowd was already moshing themselves into oblivion! I have no idea how we all survived the night. It was utter carnage.

Bringing their signature blend of heavy metal and melodic rock, the crowd roar with approval every time a new song begins. Especially when fan favourite, “Hearts Burst Into Fire” began to play. The place erupted with this 2008 hit being everyone’s top BFMV song. With tracks covering the majority of their albums, there was definitely something for everyone; new and old. This well-curated setlist included the likes of, “Piece of Me”, “The Last Fight”, “Scream Aim Fire” and so many more classics the band performed incredibly.

However, there was a certain few songs in particular where the mosh pit grew even bigger than the venue; “You Want a Battle? (Here’s a War)” and “Rainbow Veins” sent everyone into a sea of mayhem. Bodies were flying everywhere. You could see the grins on the band’s faces as they look out into the crowd to witness this beautiful moment.

With the set coming to an end and the encore on the horizon, I knew they had to play my favourite song next. Before hopping off to the next city on the list, they deliver a perfect encore. With my favourite, “Your Betrayal” as well as “Tears Don’t Fall” and “Waking The Demon”, I can 100% guarantee everyone left satisfied that night. The performance was truly elite and would be one for the books. Leeds brought the energy and Bullet For My Valentine took it, multiplied it by a thousand and threw it right back at us and we couldn’t have asked for more. 

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