The Hype: Armed with their latest album Fever, Bullet For My Valentine made a stop at the Grove of Anaheim for a sold-out show. Chiodos, Airbourne and Arcanium were packaged together as openers to span the different genres of metal to widen the overall appeal of the tour. The second Bullet For My Valentine hit the stage, it seemed like a homecoming for Welsh band, given the appreciative roar from the crowd.
The Show: A machine gun-like drum beat doubled with palm-muted guitar chords signaled the battle cry of "Your Betrayal". Slamming double bass drums rattled my skull as lead singer and guitarist Matthew Tuck coaxed metallic riffs from his Jackson guitar, backed by a Spinal Tap amount (up to 11!) of Mesa Boogie speakers. Bullet For My Valentine didn't let up with the mosh pit stirring "Fever" that pummeled the audience with its thrash tempo and splash of melody.
Tuck thanked the crowd for making Fever debut on the Billboard's album chart at No. 3. Dressed in a vintage Metallica shirt, Tuck made his heroes proud with the ear-shattering riff of "Waking The Demon". Three microphones spaced across the stage gave Tuck ample time to visit each section of the crowd as waves of crowd surfers stormed the barricade.
Jason James took the microphone for the background screams during "Tears Don't Fall" while Tuck sang the melodies. "4 Words(To Choke Upon)" featured a deep guitar bend similar to the opening of "Iron Man" along with hints of early Anthrax thrash. It is no wonder that Bullet for My Valentine has been billed as the "New Wave Of British Heavy Metal".
After tossing aside a large red bra, "The Last Fight" and a lighter and cell phone moment of "Say Goodnight" set the stage for a pulverising take on "Scream Aim Fire" with Michael Padget using both hands to vigorously tap the fretboard of his custom ESP guitar. A brief walk off stage had gave the band a rest before unleashing "Begging For Mercy," "Hand of Blood" and "Alone" to close their set. The evening seemed to go by in seconds but they did go through twelve songs.
The Crowd: Long-haired metal dudes dominated the crowd and the smell of testosterone hit me when I entered the Grove, but I did spot a number of very brave females on the front row who gazed longingly at Matthew Tuck in between throwing up the devil's horns in the air.
Overheard: Tuck played it like Iron Maiden by asking the crowd "Scream for me Anaheim!". If you don't know that reference, you can turn in your Heavy Metal card.