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bfmvPalladium, Cologne, Germany
27th October 2018
Bullet For My Valentine - “Gravity” Tour 2018 - Special guests: Of Mice & Men, Nothing More, Shvpes

Welsh Metalcore icons BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE announced their tour for their recently released ‘Gravity’ album and around 4,000 metal heads heeded the call, as the venue was sold-out months before the gig. The list of special guests grew longer and longer, offering the seldom possibility to witness four extremely attractive bands on one evening.


Shvpes

The latest addition to the billing and first up on stage were SHVPES, a Metalcore band from Birmingham, UK. Founded in 2009, the band so far has released two albums: ‘Pain, Joy, Ecstasy, Despair’ in 2016 and the brand-new ‘Greater Than’ in November 2018. https://www.facebook.com/SHVPES / www.shvpes.com

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Music & Performance
When I arrived at the venue around 6pm, the excitement was palpable. There was a mile-long queue in front of the Palladium with hundreds of people waiting patiently for the doors to open. The start of the SHVPES had been rescheduled to 6:40pm, but most of the concertgoers seemed to have gotten the message, as the venue was already quite packed, when the five members of SHVPES went on-stage. Singer Griffin Dickinson scored extra points for dedication, as he walked on stage with crutches, which he threw away during the first song. Indeed, his injured ankle did not keep him from delivering an extremely energetic show, during which he and his band members fired up the audience. Also their music style with guitar-oriented heavy riffing, occasional rap vocals and carefully curated electronic effects sounded very ambitious and did not fail to entertain the audience.

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 7
Sound: 7
Light: 6
Total: 7 / 10

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Nothing More

Next up people in the Palladium were in for a real treat. This time in the form of the San Antonio, Texas quartet NOTHING MORE, which still has a kind of insider status here in Europe, despite the fact that they are three-time Grammy nominees and receive a lot of airplay in U.S. radio stations. Visitors of this year’s edition of Rock Am Ring / Rock Im Park festival had the chance of witnessing Texas’ finest in Rock music. The band has released five albums so far, the last of which is called ‘The Stories We Tell Ourselves’ from 2017. For more information go to www.nothingmore.net or www.facebook.com/nothingmore.

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Music & Performance
The band hit the stage after a gloomy spoken word intro and broke out into the opener ‘Do You Really Want it?’ from their most recent album. Especially singer Johnny Hawkins hit the stage radiating an enormous amount of energy, screaming into the mic and initially hitting the drums of the enormous ‘Mad Max’-like instrument monster thingy, called “the Scorpion Tail”, sitting in the centre of the stage. The band used their time in the spotlight to play all their hits from the last two (and more popular) albums, such as ‘Let ‘em burn’, ‘Go to War’, and the powerful ballad/neck breaker ‘Jenny’. Towards the end of the set, during the SKRILLEX cover ‘First of the Year’, singer Johnny - with his signature shirtless and barefoot look - climbed on top of the scorpion, which catapulted him hydraulically into a height of approximately two meters, which definitely wowed the crowd and left many of the uninitiated spectators open-mouthed.

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NOTHING MORE left the stage after thirty minutes to the applause of a notably warmed-up crowd.

Setlist
01. Do You Really Want It?
02. Let ‘em Burn
03. Don’t Stop
04. Go to War
05. Jenny
06. This Is The Time (Ballast)
07. First of the Year (Equinox) (Skrillex cover)

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light:  7
Total: 8 / 10

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Of Mice & Men

Six months after their acclaimed gig during the ‘Defy’ tour in the Cologne Essigfabrik, Metalcore band OF MICE & MEN from Costa Mesa, California used their opportunity to earn a growing fan base with the current BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE tour. OF MICE & MEN have defied (sic!) all critics saying that the band would not regain their footing after the departure of former front man Austin Carlile in 2016. The band’s bass player and now new singer Aaron Pauley has consistently shown he is up to the task in countless gigs ever since. To find out more about the band, check out www.ofmiceandmenofficial.com or https://www.facebook.com/ofmice.

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Music & Performance
At 8:20pm it was time for the third act on that night’s billing. And OF MICE & MEN did not take any prisoners by opening with the neck-breaking ‘Defy’ from their latest same-titled studio album. The first notes sent the mosh pit into frenzy, as clearly the band had a lot of fans here, who were ready to go ballistic. And OF MICE & MEN gave them what they wanted: A brutally intensive live show unleashing the abundant energy in the room, which erupted in circle pits, a wall of death and a steady stream of crowd surfers, which kept the security occupied. Especially the song ‘You make me sick’ had people slamming into each other like crazy.

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On a sad note however, this was the time when the first people seemed to notice their phones and other valuables gone missing. Although there were plenty of warning signs of pickpockets all around, some sinister f*ckfaces seemingly have used the turmoil in the crowd as an opportunity to rob people of their belongings. I just hope that these low-life creatures get what they deserve soon enough, as this is a real shame and downturn for every person affected. However, OF MICE & MEN’s forty minutes in the limelight were an extremely delightful and satisfying affair for the present fans, who certainly had no reason to be disappointed.

Setlist
01. Defy
02. Warzone
03. Unbreakable
04. Would You Still Be There
05. You Make Me Sick
06. Bones Exposed
07. Instincts
08. The Depths

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 7.8 / 10

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Bullet For My Valentine

Wales finest in Metalcore of the last 15 years, the quartet BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE went on tour to promote their newly released album ‘Gravity’. Formed in 1998, eventually securing a five-album major label deal, their 2005 debut, ‘The Poison’, and 2008 follow-up, ‘Scream Aim Fire’, would provide an injection of what heavy music was very much lacking at the time. Following ‘Fever’, ‘Temper Temper’ and ‘Venom’, cemented their stature as modern masters, selling millions of albums worldwide. It’s not just the press and fans that have afforded them such faith - even the heroes that inspired them in the first place, bands like IRON MAIDEN and METALLICA, have personally selected BFMV to hit the road and share the stage with them. Returning with new opus ‘Gravity’, the Welsh quartet have stretched their creative wings like never before, delicately balancing film-score electronica and icy synths in their trademark hellfire of hard rock. www.BulletForMyValentine.com / https://www.facebook.com/BulletForMyValentine

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Music & Performance
Once again, the changeover was relatively brief, with the stage having been shielded with a huge white curtain bearing the characteristic wing logo of the band against the peering views of the audience. At 9:30pm, the lights went dim, and behind the curtain, the first notes of ‘Leap of Faith’ and a blistering strobe light show started off. Then the curtain came down and the band continued to play the opener to the frenetic cheering of the crowd. The stage production also featured a pretty impressive light show, including three large light gates and countless. But all these gimmicks were just mere accessories, when it came to the brutally precise sound production of the band, which sounded once again very well-balanced.

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Singer Matthew Tuck as well as guitarist Michael Paget delivered a fascinating performance, which captured the audience in its entirety. A little more than halfway into the set, the new drummer Jason Bowld was let off his leash and delivered one of his famous drum solos, seemingly denying the laws of physics when it came to the speed of his drumming. The setlist relied obviously to a large degree on the new album ‘Gravity’, but the band played also a bunch of killer tracks from the earlier works, such ‘4 Words (To Choke Upon)’, and ‘Tears don’t fall’ from the 2005 debut album ‘The Poison’, or ‘Waking the demon’ from the successor ‘Scream Aim Fire’. For this last song, Singer Matthew had the full first half of the audience form a giant circle pit, during which every fan could release whatever energy was left in the tank after 90 minutes of playtime.

Setlist
01. Leap of Faith
02. Over It
03. Your Betrayal
04. 4 Words (To Choke Upon)
05. Worthless
06. Letting You Go
07. The Last Fight
08. Venom
09. Not Dead Yet
10. Drum Solo
11. Scream Aim Fire
12. You Want a Battle? (Here’s a War)
13. Piece of Me
14. No Way Out
15. Suffocating Under Words of Sorrow (What Can I Do)
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16. Don’t Need You
17. Tears Don’t Fall
18. Waking the Demon

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 9
Total: 8.5 / 10

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All Pictures by Thomas Eger
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