Bullet for My Valentine

Bullet for My Valentine @ O2 Academy, 7th March 2023

The O2 Academy in Birmingham was pulsing with energy on Tuesday night as Bullet for My Valentine took to the stage as part of their UK/Europe Tour 2023. The Welsh metal band delivered a powerful performance that had the crowd screaming during the entire set.


The night began with Atreyu, who warmed up the crowd with their blunt brand of metalcore. The American band delivered an energetic set, starting with “Strange Powers of Prophecy” from their album “Baptize”. Brandon Saller, the frontman, commanded the stage and got the crowd up immediately , cheering and singing along with the thunderous opening number. The venue was almost full, which never happens right from the beginning as we all know, which only proved the fans’ commitment to their beloved artists.

The band followed up with the thrilling “Becoming the Bull”, as Saller jumped into the pit and disappeared into the crowd while singing along with them. While Saller’s frayed vocals bounced around the venue, the rest of the band continued to play on.


Atreyu continued to dominate the stage with their intense energy, performing hits like “The Time is Now”, “In Our Wake” and “Ex’s and Oh’s”. The crowd sang along and bounced as one, while the guitars harmonized in unison.

The band premiered a new song called “Drowning”, encouraging the crowd to sing along at the top of their voices if they knew it or get into the circle pit if they didn’t. After a few more hits like “Save Us” and “Battle Drums”, frontman Saller shared a fond memory of them shopping for avocados and their hands touched. As they began to tell the story, the band started playing Whitney Houston’s classic hit, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody”, with Saller taking the lead on vocals and the crowd joining in to sing the popular lines back. Just as the song was about to kick into full gear, the band abruptly stopped playing, teasing the audience, as frontman joked “You all fell for it”. The crowd voiced their disappointment with a chorus of boos, but Saller promises to play the full song during their next headline tour.


The band closed with a memorable performance of “Blow,” leaving the crowd chanting at the top of their lungs, proving that in 20 years they built an incredibly supportive fanbase all over the world.

Atreyu’s charisma and stage presence were undeniable, and they looked like they were genuinely having a blast on stage. The band’s energy, intensity, and talent were on full display, impressing their fans thoroughly. Their performance was an unforgettable experience and a true testament to their talent and dedication to their music. Saller promised to return soon for a headline show so I definitely recommend keeping an eye out for that!

The crowd was already pumped up and ready for more by the time they left the stage and the venue was fully packed and ready for more.

Next up was Jinjer, the Ukrainian metal band known for their progressive sound and powerful vocals and their performance was nothing short of electrifying, with the band delivering a tight and powerful set that had the crowd completely enthralled. Frontwoman Tatiana Shmayluk owned the stage with her fierce stage presence and stunning vocal range, which shifted from growls to melodic singing with ease. The band’s set included songs from their latest album “Wallflowers”, which showcased their musical diversity and technical prowess.


From the moment that Tatiana Shmailyuk stepped onto the stage in her eye-catching catsuit, it was clear that Jinjer meant business. The swirling patterns and lines on her outfit and neon eye makeup were accentuated by the black lights around the set, creating an otherworldly effect that perfectly complemented the band’s intense sound and energetic stage presence.

As they launched into their set, Jinjer quickly proved why they are considered one of the most exciting new bands in the metal scene. Tracks like “Copycat” and “Pit Of Consciousness” showcased the band’s incredible musicianship, with thunderous drums and intricate guitar riffs that perfectly complemented Tatiana’s powerful vocals.

One of the standout moments of the set came during the performance of “Home Back”, from the 2019 album ‘Macro’. Shmailyuk announced to us that this one is for everyone in Ukraine and screamed “WE WANT OUR HOME BACK” as the song started. Blue and yellow flags were waved proudly in the air. “Home Back” is a standout track from Jinjer’s discography that showcases the band’s ability to write emotive and thought-provoking lyrics. The band’s signature blend of heavy grooves and melodic vocals adds to the song’s emotional strength, making it a poignant and introspective track that resonates with the fans. The song’s intensity was matched only by the band’s stage presence, with Tatiana and her bandmates absolutely commanding the stage with their energy and skill.


Jinjer thanked the audience and got the crowd excited for the main act of the night, before quickly leaving the stage. The interval flew by with classic bangers playing in the background that got the crowd singing along. One of the best renditions of “Chop Suey!” by System of a Down took place just then, with the whole crowd singing the entire song at the top of their lungs and with no background music, followed by a well-deserved round of applause for themselves.

Bullet for My Valentine

As the lights went down for Bullet for My Valentine, the crowd erupted into cheers and screams, shouting “BULLET BULLET” all around the sold out venue. The band kicked off their set with “Knives”, the opening track from their latest self-titled album, which immediately grabbed the audience’s attention with its driving rhythm and heavy guitar riffs. This high-energy song set the tone for the rest of the night, with the crowd pumping their fists and shouting along to the lyrics. The band’s sound was tight and precise, with lead singer and guitarist Matt Tuck commanding the stage with his frenetic energy and soaring vocals.

The band then launched into “Over It” and “Piece of Me”, both from their previous album “Gravity”, demonstrating their melodic sensibility and ability to write catchy, anthemic choruses.

One of the highlights of the night was “Hearts Burst Into Fire”, a classic track from their 2008 album “Scream Aim Fire”. The song showcased the band’s ability to blend heavy, chugging riffs with soaring, melodic choruses, and the crowd sang along to every word.

Bullet for My Valentine

The band then played “The Last Fight”, another crowd-pleaser from “Fever”, followed by “Shatter”, a newer track from their latest album that features a more experimental sound and intricate guitar work. The song demonstrated the band’s willingness to push their boundaries and take risks with their music. As the band played through the set, the energy in the room was palpable, with the crowd hanging on every note and cheering louder with each passing moment.

“Scream Aim Fire” and “Suffocating Under Words of Sorrow (What Can I Do)” followed, with the latter bringing a somber, introspective moment to the setlist. The band then picked up the pace again with “Rainbow Veins” and “Don’t Need You”, showcasing their ability to write intense, hard-hitting tracks that resonate with their audience.

The setlist culminated in a three-song encore that had the crowd headbanging and singing along. “Your Betrayal” was followed by “Tears Don’t Fall” and “Waking the Demon”, bringing the night to a thunderous close with their explosive riffs and intense vocal performances.

Bullet for My Valentine

“Tears Don’t Fall” is undeniably one of Bullet for My Valentine’s most popular and beloved songs, and the crowd’s reaction to it was a testament to its enduring appeal. As soon as the opening guitar riff kicked in, the crowd erupted into a frenzy and began singing along at the top of their lungs and throwing their hands in the air, creating a truly electric atmospher. It was a powerful moment that demonstrated just how deeply this song has resonated with fans over the years, and it was clear that for many in the audience, hearing it performed live was a dream come true.

Overall, Bullet for My Valentine delivered an electrifying performance that left the crowd buzzing with excitement. The support acts, Atreyu and Jinjer, also brought their A-game, showcasing their raw talents and impressive musicianship. Their unique sounds and dynamic stage presence proved one thing – metal fans should definitely keep these bands on their radar. An absolutely fantastic show that will be remembered by fans for a long time to come.

1. Knives
2. Over It
3. Piece of Me
4. 4 Words (to Choke Upon)
5. You Want a Battle? (Here’s a War)
6. Hearts Burst Into Fire
7. The Last Fight
8. Shatter
9. 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
17. Waking the Demon


Review and photographs: Andra Tudoran


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