Welsh metallers Bullet For My Valentine spent the early part of 2015 in the hole with their early-years colleague Colin Richardson (As I Lay Dying, Slipknot, Machine Head), recording Venom, their fifth record in 10 years. (Pre-order-able riiiiight...here.) Right now they're in the middle of a hefty North American tour with the 'Knot and Lamb of God, and they'll head to Europe in the fall. In short: They're ready. Here's our conversation with lead singer and guitarist Matt Tuck.
There was a very specific emotion and energy to your first album; will some of that possibly be returning on Venom?
Yeah, the new album does have a lot of energy and emotion which will be reminiscent of the first couple of records we did with Colin. But for me the main difference, and thing to expect, is the way the album feels and the lyrical content—it's a lot darker and angrier sounding than anything we’ve ever done. I think it'll take people by surprise when they hear it. We really wanted to step everything up a few gears on this one and show people what where we’re at in 2015.
Sonically, what did producer Carl Brown bring to the table for his first time working with you guys?
He brought a lot of things to the table; he's an amazing engineer and very up to date with the recording and music technology side of things. He’s worked with Colin full time for the past five to six years now so he knows exactly how the guitar and drum tones, et cetera, should be so it made the whole process very easy.
This is the biggest thing he’s ever worked on and was very hungry and passionate to be given the opportunity to work on the record, so we really wanted him to step up and make it sound killer, which he did. We felt it was super important to make the record with guys that wanted nothing but the best for the band and to let us be who we wanted and needed to be. Colin and Carl were those guys.
Did Carl and Colin have an easy time getting along in the studio? Were there any creative differences between either of them or your camp?
Yeah, like I said they’re kind of a team now and have worked together solidly for a long time so there was no weirdness there with the dynamic or anything. We were all very much on the same page with how we wanted the album to sound and feel and where we needed to go musically. We had a very long talk with everyone before the making of the record and got everyone's roles put into place before we started.
Are there any other experiments in sound or departures from the historical Bullet style that fans will hear on Venom?
I don’t think so, no. There are a few things which Carl added, like some ambient noise and some keyboard parts, but they’re very subliminal and you don't really notice they're there unless you have a very good ear for detail. All the parts that make us who we are as a band are still definitely there; it still sounds like a Bullet For My Valentine record—it's just a lot more aggressive and darker sounding.
How have fans been receiving the new material on your current tour?
The fans have been losing their minds to the new stuff! Opening the show with "No Way Out" is just immense; such a great vibe to that sound. And when the chorus hits and the crowd lets it all out, it's super special. The reaction overall has been incredible. It seems we’ve really struck a nerve with a lot of people on this one and can't wait for Venom to come out so people can hear the whole story.
What are your plans once the album's out?
We’re super busy touring from now until the end of 2016, and the album isn’t even out yet! We’ve got a lot of cool tours coming up: Supporting Slipknot across America is obviously a massive deal. We have an extensive U.K. and European run coming up in the autumn, and an Ozzfest Japan performance coming up soon, too, so it's gonna be a very busy but very exciting 18 months and beyond.