Given the band’s tendency to sell out large venues, I was pretty amazed to see that on their newly announced European tour in support of Venom, Bullet For My Valentine had decided to play Guildford. Of course, this isn’t something that I could allow myself to miss, so imagine my delight when support was announced shortly before, Coldrain and While She Sleeps. I headed down to G Live for what would surely be the hottest event the town would experience in 2015.
First up are Japanese Metalcore band Coldrain. Starting strong with impressive vocals and a thick, metallic sound, the band very quickly run out of steam, swiftly becoming yet another run off the mill, ten a penny metalcore band. The crowd seem to be enjoying themselves as the band run through all of the expected genre tropes, screamed verse, clean chorus, breakdown, clean chorus, rinse, repeat. It’s very possible that Coldrain just aren’t for me, as I mentioned before their technicality is pretty good, and they have no trouble getting the crowd interested. Personally, I found the set un-engaging and tiresome, and I found myself wishing the set could come to an end at several points throughout. Points for effort and efficiency, but unfortunately this can’t save a mediocre act from just that: Mediocrity. 6/10
Well, if anything can save this, it’s While She Sleeps, who could easily have been headlining this night alone. The crowd are absolutely rabid, screaming every word back at the absolutely electric Loz Harper, who at one point even brings his younger siblings onstage to introduce a ferocious rendition of Seven Hills. The band are on fire, tearing G Live apart within the time frame of their criminally short set. Nonetheless, the band are a well oiled, frantic machine at this point, and steal the show with seemingly little effort. The set speeds past, leaving the crowd absolutely desperate for more. A performance worth the ticket price alone, While She Sleeps are quite simply the best young metal band in the world today. 9.2/10
It’s now, I’m afraid, that things take a turn for the worst. Starting fairly well, Bullet For My Valentine plod through a set of mainly brand new material, rarely breaking for a single word to the audience (aside from congratulating themselves at the end of the set, in a show of pure cringe inducing pomp). Whilst songs like Scream, Aim, Fire and Tears Don’t Fall go down a storm, you can’t help but notice just how uninterested the band are at this time. Once again however, as with Coldrain, the band are technically sound and impressively tight, and the audience (or at least the pits) go absolutely crazy for the band, who must have mistaken the venue’s London Road street name for the city it’s named after. Whilst it must be said, I am not a huge fan of the band anyway, I’ve seen BFMV put on a much better performance than this, and even seen them steal the show on occasion. However, a heavy reliance on new material just drives the set into absolute mediocrity, and dare I say it complete boredom at points. I felt as though I would leave the show with a new appreciation for the band and the album, but left dissatisfied and unfulfilled. Unfortunately, much like their latest album, this was not the show to bring Bullet For My Valentine back into the public spotlight. 5/10