LIVE REVIEW: Bullet For My Valentine, Defects, PRYZM Kingston, 24/05/2022
Photo credit: Fiona Garden
There is something special about Banquet Records shows. The record store situated in the heart of Kingston-Upon-Thames are hosts of live music events, in-stores and signings in the surrounding area. However, what makes Banquet shows something special comes down to their ability to attract artists and bands who ordinarily, on world scale sized tours, can sell-out venues in their tens of thousands. But when Banquet takes them and throws them into the intimacy of the record store, New Slang, The Fighting Cocks or the closeness of the 1000 capacity PRYZM it creates an atmosphere no words will ever be able to describe.
And that was the case for Bullet For My Valentine’s show on Tuesday night. Taking one of the UK’s biggest metal success stories, who have packed out shows at large scale venues from Alexandra Palace to Eventim Apollo and placing them in the sweaty space of Kingston’s infamous PRYZM nightclub. Bullet For My Valentine brought the newly found Bullet 2.0 and a back catalogue of complete classics in blistering style to the Banquet Records hosted event.
Before Bullet, Defects were openers of the night, who are a modern metal collective with a short back catalogue but they’re nothing short of stage presence. Commanding the nightclub and bringing guitar solos to the audience, Defects ignited the right levels of enthusiasm and energy needed to light the fire that was about to burn down PRYZM when Bullet came on.
Taking the chance to celebrate the release of their self-titled record with a show that has been postponed for the same duration since the album’s release “Six months late huh? Thanks for being here” confirms vocalist Matt Tuck, Bullet For My Valentine brought a blazing, ferocious and unrelenting display of new songs and a slew from their albums since ‘05. Starting off with BFMV material, Omen which is the latest track to feature on the deluxe edition of the album, the driving Knives cuts through PRYZM like a red-hot razor and later the breakdown heavy Rainbow Veins proved that Bullet 2.0 brings the heat just as much as the years that constitute Bullet 1.0 do.
“This is technically our first proper show of 2022,” injects Tuck, following on from a K! PIT performance the night before down at London’s Blondies. They took us back to 2010’s for one of the bands biggest tracks; Your Betrayal receives an instrumental sing-a-long to the iconic opening guitar riffs that gets the song alive and kicking down in Kingston.
Songs in the set like Scream Aim Fire and eventual set closer Waking The Demon bring it back to Bullet’s 2008 sophomore effort that shares the same name as the first song out of the two tracks to be performed live. “Want a fast one?” asks Tuck before the band tear their way through the title-track, before becoming his “Brothers and sisters on the floor” to “Make this shit count. You’re born ready for this one”, with Waking The Demon serving as the closer, the crowd revelling screaming at the top of their lungs and fired up with enough energy ammunition to extract appropriate revenge on those who may have wronged them.
But before the final goodbye and heading from the rain filled skies of Greater London to sunnier climates of Malta for Bring Me The Horizon’s Malta Weekender, Bullet had some more back catalogue tracks in their armour. It was the turn of You Want A Battle (Here’s A War) from their 2015 album Venom, before Bullet brought it right back to the early days of their debut The Poison for a trio of tracks that perhaps riled the crowd up the most. Having not had an airing in six years, Bullet pulled out a wildcard choice with All These Things I Hate, before moving onto two staples in 4 Words To Choke Upon and the unmistakable Tears Don’t Fall, Tuck wasn’t lying when he said “We’ve got a couple more songs left and they are big ones”.
Bursting with rage, anger and passion for a band who have serves as a central pillar to the UK’s metal scene since 1998, Bullet For My Valentine’s long-awaited and long-delayed show for Banquet Records brought some visceral freshness from their self-titled all the way through to the sinister darkness that their debut displayed all those decades ago, for a thirteen track setlist that started this first slew of shows in 2022 off with a carnage causing bang. 10/10
Words By: Katie Conway-Flood