Bullet For My Valentine’s Matt Tuck: My life in 10 songs

From bold songwriting steps to straight-up heavy anthems, Matt Tuck looks back over 10 key tracks that have made Bullet For My Valentine one of the UK’s biggest and most important modern metal bands…

Bullet For My Valentine’s Matt Tuck: My life in 10 songs
James Wilson-Taylor
Fiona Garden

In his over 20 years as the frontman of Welsh metal titans Bullet For My Valentine, Matt Tuck has used the inspiration of his thrash heroes to create energetic, technical anthems while continuing to push himself as a songwriter, bringing new musical colours and shades into each era of the band.

Here, Matt reflects on some of their biggest moments and the key songs that got them where they are today…

1Hand Of Blood (Bullet For My Valentine EP, 2004)

The track that first brought BFMV to the attention of the wider world, Hand Of Blood also featured on the Burnout video game soundtrack and ultimately reached Number One in the UK Official Rock & Metal Singles Chart.

“Itʼs 20 years ago now so it’s really hard to remember specifics, but it was just the point in the bandʼs career where we were writing for fun. There was no record deals or audience or anything; it was just us writing songs and becoming a band, developing a sound. It was one of those songs where when people did hear it, it finally connected and launched everything that everyone knows to this day.”

2Tears Don’t Fall (The Poison, 2005)

Still their biggest moment to date, the iconic music video and huge sing-along chorus helped propel Bullet to new heights internationally.

“Itʼs a weird song, on paper it shouldnʼt work. Itʼs far too long, the middle section makes no sense, the intro is all drawn out. Itʼs a bit of a freak. But I just like to think that it comes down to people connecting with the feeling and the melodies. The chorus is an undeniable thing and when you break songs down thatʼs what people come back to.

“Even before The Poison was out, I remember playing it at Brixton Academy on the Kerrang! Tour back in the day. I think maybe the album was out but it hadnʼt been a single. I saw a clip of it the other day on Instagram, saying, ‘This is our next single.’ Then it changed everything. Itʼs just one of those wonderful moments that you canʼt explain. Iʼm very proud of it.”

3Hearts Burst Into Fire (Scream Aim Fire, 2008)

If there were any second-album nerves or pressure, BFMV certainly didnʼt show it with this confident and bold statement that opened them up to new possibilities.

“I think we were so excited by what had happened with The Poison that we were just rolling with the waves. The only thing that was putting a dampener on it was my voice and the shit I was going through with all the speech and vocal therapy. After it, I couldnʼt get it together enough in time to really back the album vocally. Itʼs a shame, but it captured a moment in time and I think the song is a phenomenal song. Weʼve been putting it in the set on this tour for the first time in a very long time and itʼs getting an equal reaction to Tears Donʼt Fall. A song like that is a very bold move for a metal band, but itʼs not something weʼve ever been afraid to do. We were just writing from our hearts and I think it stands the test of time.”

4Waking The Demon (Scream Aim Fire, 2008)

Here, Bullet For My Valentine effortlessly tip their hat to their heroes and the thrash genreʼs pioneers…

“I grew up listening to bands like Metallica, Machine Head, Slayer, Pantera, Megadeth – that kind of stuff was my go-to. So that song wasnʼt a moment to wear those influences on our sleeves but it showcases the bandʼs musical history and vibes. Super heavy, super quick and one of those songs that we canʼt drop from the set. Itʼs impossible. The music video I think was really good for the time as well. We really pushed the boat out and tried to do something kind of cool. It’s one of my favourites – I love playing that song live.”

5Your Betrayal (Fever, 2010)

With an iconic intro section, the track garnered particular attention in the U.S. and, like Waking The Demon, has rarely left the setlist since.

“That whole album was about taking the foot off the gas a little bit with the speed and trying to write more anthemic, statement songs. We felt we showcased that more thrashy side on the first two albums and we wanted to deliver something that was far more puffy-chested and less focused on speed and ferocity. Your Betrayal opens up that album in that fashion. It’s very anthemic, military almost. It’s a lot harder to write songs like that when they are mid-tempo. Thereʼs lots of space and you have to make sure that the vocal melodies are on point. That song took a few weeks to put together. It’s so simple in its execution, it’s fun, but you really have to focus in on the parts to make sure they are exactly how they should be. Challenging but fun.”

6Temper Temper (Temper Temper, 2012)

A transitional moment for the band, the title-track of their fourth album saw Matt fighting to balance his musical ambitions.

“It was a weird era of the band. After Fever was so big and so successful, it subconsciously spun my head a little bit with the songwriting. I wanted to go down that heavy route but also wanted to continue that trajectory of becoming a bigger force in the music industry. So it was a bit hard to focus and I think thatʼs where that album falls down a little bit. Itʼs not heavy enough and it’s not commercial enough, it is just kind of in this middle zone. Some people love it, some people hate it.”

“But it was a good song for radio – it wasnʼt written for that, but you hear it when you listen back and it was played on radio quite a lot. No guitar solos, no super heavy breakdowns but that was how we felt at that time. Iʼm proud of the record – and Iʼm proud of everything we do.”

7You Want A Battle (Here’s A War) (Venom, 2015)

Arguably the bandʼs most personal song to date, the subject matter has connected with a wide range of Bullet fans around the world.

“I channelled going back to my school days, when I was really bullied and picked on. I wrote it from the heart, and I wanted to really put something emotional into it. Hopefully that would drag out a rawer, edgier sound in the guitars which I think it did. Itʼs one of the songs where it’s getting better with age. Every night that song has been going down amazing. I think it’s that unity of the intro and the crowd sing-along. Iʼm sure there are lots of people out there who have experienced what the song is about.

“It also helped me find my love of songwriting again. That Temper Temper era was when I was just grabbing at things and writing. But on Venom, I wanted to bring more of me into it. So it became way more personal and intimate. And that really does help connect with the crowd and thatʼs a beautiful thing.”

8Over It (Gravity, 2018)

Built around a simple riff, the first single from the Gravity album quickly established itself as a festival anthem in waiting.

“I wanted all the elements of a metal record but without the more technical side. So it was more dark, lyrical songwriting and production. Really simple riffs, huge heavy drum grooves and just trying to focus on that. I fucking adore that record – it’s my favourite. And those songs are set highlights now.

“It was a hard song to write because when it’s just a simple riff and a groove, it was hard to love it. That was the challenge on that record – it was hard to love it until the vocals went on and then all of a sudden it just came to life. Then we put all the production and synths around it and it turned into a monster.”

9Knives (Bullet For My Valentine, 2021)

The current opener to the bandʼs live show and a furious reminder of the heavy heights they are still hitting…

“As the album progressed in the recording and we could hear what was happening, it was just the perfect first single. There was a lot of writing before that. We had the first instrumental down but we were struggling for a chorus. And I just thought, ‘Letʼs take peopleʼs heads off.’ So I just did the simplest, dirtiest riff you could hear and put that vocal over the top and all of a sudden it worked. As soon as we wrote that song in its demo form, it just kicked the door open for the rest of the record and gave us that confidence to be fucking heavy and aggressive.”

10No More Tears To Cry (Bullet For My Valentine deluxe, 2022)

Saved for a post-album bonus release, it showcases the genre-hopping and wide-ranging creativity that Matt has pushed himself further towards with each subsequent album.

“Itʼs another one of those weird Bullet tracks; it doesnʼt make sense and it feels brave and not many bands would write a song like that. We write songs that are diverse and a little bit different. The reason why it didnʼt go on the album is because we wanted to make a definitive metal record this time. We didnʼt want to fuck with peopleʼs heads. But it’s a Bullet formula that is tried and tested from the past – we just didnʼt think it was right for the record.

“Itʼs kind of a unique song with the acoustic, country-style chorus and slide guitars. Itʼs a weird song but thatʼs why it was fun. We knew it wasnʼt on the album so there was no pressure. It wasnʼt fucking with the dynamic of anything. Letʼs just get weird with it. But itʼs got an undeniable Bullet chorus. You can tell it’s us straight away.”

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