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bulletformyvalentineRockhal, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg
22nd February 2023
Bullet for My Valentine - “UK & Europe Tour 2023” - Support: Atreyu, Jinjer

On Wednesday evening, the Grand Duchy welcomed BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE with open arms. No wonder, the tour was postponed for a year due to the pandemic. On the bill: BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE’s new self-titled album, the Ukrainians from JINJER and the openers from ATREYU, who some may still remember from the past.


Originally named RETRIBUTION, the American band changed their name to ATREYU after the character of the same name from Michael Ende’s fantasy book ‘The Neverending Story’. The name change came because of a change of members and a progression in their musical styling. The band have released eight studio albums: ‘Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses’ (2002), ‘The Curse’ (2004), ‘A Death-Grip on Yesterday’ (2006), ‘Lead Sails Paper Anchor’ (2007), ‘Congregation of the Damned’ (2009), ‘Long Live’ (2015), ‘In Our Wake’ (2018) and ‘Baptize’ (2021).

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Music & Performance
When ATREYU entered the stage at 7pm, the Rockhal was already well attended. As is well known, there have not been too many opportunities to see the band live since the separation from singer Alex Varkatzas. After the a cappella intro ‘Strange Powers Of Prophecy’, the US-Americans showed what they are capable of and delivered a high-energy show. Their joy of playing was not to be missed. During the second song ‘Becoming the Bull’, singer Brandon left the stage and joined the audience. He was also not afraid to steal a beer from a visitor and drank it. The latest album ‘Baptize’ was only covered with two songs. Otherwise, the setlist was fairly distributed over the now eight studio albums. By the song ‘Ex’s and Oh’s’ at the latest, the audience was more active and complied with singer Brandon Saller from that point on. After a short set of 30 minutes, ATREYU left the stage and gained some new fans that evening.

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01. Strange Powers of Prophecy
02. Becoming the Bull
03. The Time Is Now
04. Ex’s and Oh's
05. Save Us
06. Drowning
07. Battle Drums
08. Blow

Music: 7.5
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 7.6 / 10

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A versatile, female-fronted Metalcore unit based out of Ukraine, JINJER have found success both in their Eastern European homeland and abroad with their punitive blend of Post-Hardcore and Death / Progressive / Nu-Metal. Drawing from a wide array of influences, including R&B, Soul, Hip-Hop, and the full spectrum of Heavy Metal, the band formed in 2009 and features a line-up consisting of Tatiana Shmailyuk (vocals), Roman Ibramkhalilov (guitar), Eugene Abdiukhanov (bass), and Vladislav Ulasevich (drums). JINJER issued a pair of EPs, 2010’s ‘Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear’ and 2012’s ‘Inhale, Do Not Breathe’, before breaking big at home with the release of a full-length version of the latter album in 2013. The group’s sophomore long-player, 2014’s ‘Cloud Factory’, caught the attention of heavy metal institution Napalm, which signed JINJER and released their third full-length effort, ‘King of Everything’, in 2016. The group toured heavily in support of the LP, hitting the European festival circuit and making their presence known overseas as well. In August 2021, the band returned with their album ‘Wallflowers’, again on Napalm.

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Music & Performance
After a short changeover, it was completely dark on stage. Seconds later, it became clear why this is the case. Frontwoman Tatiana Shmailyuk has dressed in a skin-tight jumpsuit this evening, which created a green phosphorescent effect in the glow of the UV lamps. The make-up also matched the outfit perfectly and was definitely eye-catching. Those who know JINJER are aware that Tatiana likes to dress a little more extravagantly, but on this evening, she certainly attracted the complete attention of the audience. In a good mood, the band started with a lot of energy with ‘Who’s Gonna Be the One’. After the following song ‘Copycat’, Tatiana thanked the audience for their support and reminded them of the ongoing war in her country, Ukraine. An emotional moment, which is subsequently transformed into a concentrated load of energy with ‘Home Back’.

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The following ‘Judgement (& Punishment)’ set the party mode. Lead singer Tatiana commanded the stage with her powerful and haunting voice, captivating the audience with her vocal range and stage presence. Her ability to effortlessly switch between growls and melodic vocals amazed the crowd - especially those who were not familiar with JINJER. But her bandmates also knew how to impress. Roman Ibramkhalilov’s guitar riffs and solos were simply outstanding, while drummer Vladislav Ulasevich and bassist Eugene Abdiukhanov provided the perfect foundation for the band’s powerful sound. In general, JINJER know how to captivate the audience: no big announcements, no long pauses and with the semi-ballad ‘Wallflower’ only a little rest before the finale. With ‘Call Me a Symobol’, the Ukrainians left the stage, leaving behind cheering and clapping fans.

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01. Who’s Gonna Be the One
02. Copycat
03. Home Back
04. Judgement (& Punishment)
05. Pit of Consciousness
06. Perennial
07. Dead Hands Feel No Pain
08. Colossus
09. Wallflower
10. Call Me a Symbol

Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 8.3 / 10

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Bullet for my Valentine

Finding themselves five albums in and long established as one of the biggest British Metal acts in music history, BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE have been busy rewriting their own future - finding new ways to invent intelligent noise and remaining unshackled by the legacy that comes with being masters of the trade. After initially forming as Jeff Killed John 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. Consecutive full-lengths ‘Fever’, ‘Temper Temper’ and ‘Venom’ would cement their stature as modern masters, selling millions of albums worldwide and being crowned “Best British Band” at the Kerrang! Awards three years in a row - where they’ve also been awarded for “Best Single”, “Best Live Band” and “Best British Newcomer”.

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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. On November 2021 the band released their seventh studio album, ‘Bullet for My Valentine’. This album sees the band open a bold new chapter and is easily their heaviest, fiercest album so far.

Music & Performance
When the lights went out around 9pm, a loud, scream filled the Rockhal. With ‘Knives’, from their new album, the Welsh entered the stage and showed that this song was ideal as an opener, as the fans were already headbanging. With ‘Over It’ and ‘Piece Of Me’ they went back to the previous album ‘Gravity’ before they continued with ‘4 Words (to Choke Upon)’ from the album ‘The Poison’ and the audience was really fired up. Everyone got their money's worth here, so that the security staff had their hands full, as one crowd-surfer after another reached the pit.

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The quartet from Bridgend obviously didn’t have to do much: the absolutely cleanly performed songs were enough to get the hall moving. That the band enjoyed the show together to the fullest, could be read from the musicians’ faces. The setlist left nothing to be desired: fast thrash breakers like the indestructible ‘Scream Aim Fire’ including a circle pit alternated with midtempo grenades like ‘Shatter’, where the audience could once again headbang with ease. Another little trip back in time was in front of the long-time fans: ‘All These Things I Hate (Revolve Around Me)’ rang through the Rockhal and you could almost think that every single spectator had sung or swayed along at least briefly. When the band said goodbye a little later with ‘Death By A Thousand Cuts’, it was clear that this was not the end of the show. Shortly after that, ‘Your Betrayal’, ‘Tears Don't Fall’ and ‘Waking the Demon’ ended the show and delivered another little trip into the past.

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01. Knives
02. Over It
03. Piece of Me
04. 4 Words (to Choke Upon)
05. You Want a Battle? (Here’s a War)
06. Hearts Burst Into Fire
07. The Last Fight
08. Shatter
09. All These Things I Hate (Revolve Around Me)
10. Scream Aim Fire
11. Suffocating Under Words of Sorrow (What Can I Do)
12. Rainbow Veins
13. Don’t Need You
14. Death By A Thousand Cuts
15. Your Betrayal
16. Tears Don’t Fall (Acoustic intro)
17. Waking the Demon

Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 9
Light: 8
Total: 8.8 / 10

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All Pictures by Elena Arens

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