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Sometimes, there's no better feeling than losing control. Energy gets released; it's irresistible and infectious. That's the case on Bullet For My Valentine's fourth full-length offering, TEMPER TEMPER (RCA Records) released February 12, 2013. Tightening their grooves and sharpening their riffs, the Welsh quartet who has sold over 4 million albums world wide—Matt Tuck [vocals, guitar], Michael "Padge" Paget [guitar], Michael "Moose" Thomas [drums], and Jason James [bass]—fire off an incendiary collection of hard rock anthems with arena-ready bombast and metallic intensity.
After a whirlwind cycle in support of 2010's Fever, the band decided to do something a little different when the time came to record album number four. Quite appropriately on Valentine's Day 2012, Tuck and "Moose" boarded a plane for Thailand. Instead of recording in the U.S. or UK, they collectively hunkered down at Karma Sound Studios in Bang Saray with producer Don Gilmore (Linkin Park, Rob Zombie, Hollywood Undead). The experience proved inspiring and invigorating on numerous levels.
"I had a bit of an idea going into this," smiles Tuck. "It was basically 'record-as-we-go'. There were no writing or demo sessions this time around. I'd just done the same thing with my other band AxeWound, and it was so exciting and productive. So I asked the Bullet boys, 'Can we go somewhere and write and record the album?' We decided on Thailand, and it was the best decision we could've made."
For almost a month, the musicians focused on amping up every element of their patented sound. They didn't want to deviate from the foundation, but rather expand upon it. Despite taking a mere two days off to ride elephants and see tigers in their natural habitat, the setting also allowed for complete immersion in the process.
"It's always wise to step outside of your comfort zone," the frontman continues. "We didn't have to worry about anything. The studio was completely state-of-the-art, and the living quarters were fantastic. We didn't have to deal with any of the pressures or obligations that we do at home. You could wake up in the morning and go for a swim or take a jog down the beach. It was an amazing way to start every day. Everybody was in a great mood. When you're in a great mood, it encourages creativity."
At the same time, they strengthened their bond with Gilmore. After working together on the Fever, the band and producer forged a singular trust that served as an integral part of the actual sessions.
"We've got history," affirms Tuck. "We were more willing to collaborate, and we know how each other work and tick. There's an understanding between us, and that brought confidence out of me. We slowed everything down on this record. We wanted to sound fresher and bigger without playing harder and faster."
"They accomplished that mission on both the album's title track and the first single, "Riot." Beginning with a staggering beat, “Temper Temper” builds into a precise guitar attack coupled with one of the biggest hooks of their career to date.
About the song, Tuck reveals, "I wanted to say something about anger management and temper, but I didn't want to come off negatively. That's the twist. The release of negative energy is great. It feels good when you lose control. It doesn't mean you have to go smash someone's face in. You can kick a soccer ball around a field. You can pick up a guitar and rock out. As long as it's positive, let it come out."
Then, there's "Riot." Slipping from heavy to hypnotic, Tuck reflected upon the 2011 rioting and looting in the United Kingdom within the lyrics.
"The riots were on primetime news constantly," he remembers. "It was crazy how much it impacted the media. I indulged in a bit of a punk rock theme, spicing up the record with the lyrics. There are two things going on in there. The song itself is about those riots, but there's also that hard rock vibe that we'll stick together and rise up."
Everything kicks off with "Breaking Point." Forging a fast and fiery assault, the band bursts right out of the gate with intense, incisive thrashing. The singer goes on, "The song sums up the feeling of the album. Everybody has their breaking point. It's something we all share in common, and I wanted to convey that point."
They've excelled at getting their point across with a bang since forming back in Wales at the turn of the century. In 2006, they became an international phenomenon with the release of their debut album, The Poison, which became certified Gold for sales in excess of 500,000. Their second full-length, Scream Aim Fire, debuted at #4 on the Billboard Top 200.
However, the band would enjoy their highest chart debut with 2010's Fever debuting at #3 on the Billboard Top 200 and #1 on the Rock and Alternative charts. Cumulatively, sales for the group exceed four million worldwide. They've given explosive performances at both Download Festival and The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. In addition, the group has been the recipient of the Metal Hammer "Golden God" Award for "Best British" band in 2006 and 2010 and scored an impressive seven Kerrang! Awards.
However, TEMPER TEMPER signals the start of Bullet For My Valentine's biggest and best chapter yet. "We wanted to make songs that would stand the test of time," concludes Tuck. "Every track takes you on a little journey, and that's what music should do for people. We've gone through the stage of having to prove ourselves. We're men now. We want to please ourselves first and hopefully our fan base with what we do. We're not worrying about what critics think or say. We're not interested in genres or labels either. It's about doing what comes naturally. I can sleep at night knowing the boys and I have made the fucking best record we could've."