at The City Hall, Newcastle, U.K., March 3, 2023

BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE (Live at The City Hall, Newcastle, U.K., March 3, 2023)
Photo: Mick Burgess

Although Atreyu was a familiar name, their music was something of an unknown quantity to these ears. Sitting back with no preconceptions of what to expect Atreyu wasted no time in making the most of their short time on the legendary City Hall stage, winning over many new fans in the process.

Much of that was down to the charisma of vocalist Brandon Saller who had the crowd literally out of his hand. By the second song, “Becoming The Bull,” he went for a walkabout through the crowd, high-fiving and posing for selfies along the way.

With the likes of “The Time Is Now” and “Blow” they had the songs with plenty of clout and even bigger hooks and the crowd responded accordingly.

Sometimes it takes a support slot like this to bring a band to your attention and Atreyu certainly grabbed their opportunity to make their mark and are a band that will certainly be on the radar again whenever they revisit these shores.

Times are tough for Ukraine’s Jinjer at the moment and perhaps some of that pent up fury was unleashed during the course of their show.

Fronted by the electrifying Tatiana Shmailyuk, strikingly dressed in a florescent Tron-like body suit complete with matching eye make-up, her astonishing vocals stunned and slayed in equal measure. One minute guttural growls the next clean, melodic and beautiful, switching effortlessly between the styles without a pause for breath.

An unbridled maelstrom of heavy duty riffs and a dazzling display of intricate tempos, particularly from the impressive Vladislav Ulasevich on drums, made for one intriguing performance with “Who Is Gonna Be The One” and “Copycat” punching hard.

A sinister Dub Reggae twist to “Judgement (& Punishment)” brought some light to the shade but also served to intensify the riffs which inevitably returned with force. To some in the crowd it may have been a touch too much at times but most lapped up the intense display, jaw dropping vocals and astonishing musicianship as “Vortex” and “Call Me A Symbol” ensured the ferocity of the performance remained until the final note.

It’s incredible to think that it’s been almost 20 years since Bullet For My Valentine released their debut album Poison. 20 years? Surely not? How did that happen?

Over that 20 year period they have clocked up three Top 10 albums and another four that made the Top 20 or thereabouts not to mention a few Gold and Platinum records along the way. Not bad for a bunch of lads from Bridgend in Wales born and raised on a diet of Metallica and Iron Maiden. It came as no surprise therefore, to see the City Hall bursting at the seams.

Kicking off with “Knives,” a song from their latest self-titled album, was a bold move but when that songs happens to kick major backside then it all makes sense.

“Over It” and “Piece Of Me” kept the flow of more recent songs coming until “4 Words (To Choke Upon)” brought us right back to their very first album. Bullet For My Valentine were very much up and running.

Lead singer Matt Tuck’s mix of clean and screamed vocals were aided and abetted by some hugely effective backing vocals from bassist Jamie Mathias, who at times also delivered a cutting lead vocal here and there, most notably on “All These Things I Hate (Revolve Around Me).”

“Hearts Burst Into Fire” was the winner on a recent Facebook poll amongst the fans giving the crowd the chance to sing along before the razor edged riffs of Michael Paget and Tuck hammered into “Last Flight” while the slow, grinding Rammstein-esq riff of “Shatter” had a thousand heads banging in unison.

In between songs, chants of “Bullet, Bullet, Bullet” resounded around the hall creating a genuinely thrilling atmosphere. Indeed, the crowd was so rowdy and up for it, the band seemed to be genuinely taken aback by their vociferous Geordie welcome as “Scream Aim Fire” had the crowd surfers flying across the hall.

During the encores “Your Betrayal” and “Waking The Demon” the circle pit of all circle pits erupted into life leaving a swirling pandemonium of bodies crashing into each other in an organised chaos, yet those who fell were helped back to their feet in a moment, such is the etiquette of the pit.

Tonight was a reminder as to how good a live band Bullet For My Valentine really are. A powerful set of memorable songs, crushing riffs delivered with a huge chunk of energy along with a crowd up for the ride, made for one intoxicating combination.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.