Bullet for My Valentine are a Welsh metalcore band from Bridgend, formed in 1998. The band is composed of Matt Tuck (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Michael Paget (lead guitar), Jason James (bass guitar, backing vocals), and Michael Thomas (drums). They were formed under the name Jeff Killed John, and started their music career by covering songs by Metallica and Nirvana . Jeff Killed John recorded six songs which were not released; two of these tracks were later reworked in their their career as Bullet for My Valentine. Financial difficulties dictated the name change, which was followed by a change in music direction. In 2002, the band secured a five-album deal with Sony BMG. Their musical style is said to draw from such bands as Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Slayer.
Bullet for My Valentine's debut album, The Poison , was released on 3 October 2005 in the United Kingdom and on 14 February 2006 in the United States to coincide with Valentine's Day. The album entered the Billboard 200 in the U.S. at number 128. It was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. The band made appearances at the Download Festival and Kerrang! XXV, and undertook a U.S. tour with Rob Zombie. Bullet for My Valentine's second studio album, Scream Aim Fire, was released on 29 January 2008 and debuted at number four on the Billboard 200.
Jeff Killed John was the forerunner band to Bullet for My Valentine and was formed in 1998 by Matthew "Matt" Tuck, Michael "Padge" Paget, Nick Crandle, and Michael "Moose" Thomas while studying music at Bridgend College. Playing Nirvana and Metallica cover songs, the band released a two-track EP in 2002, You/Play with Me, which was produced by Greg Haver. The EP was financed through the Pynci scheme for new Welsh musicians and the release garnered radio airplay on BBC Radio 1's broadcast at Newport's T.J.'s. Jeff Killed John's music followed the nu metal trend set by bands such as Korn and Limp Bizkit. Bassist Crandle left the band on the eve of entering the recording sessions for You/Play with Me and was replaced by Jason James. The band then changed their name to Bullet for My Valentine and reworked their musical strategy; they decided to play thrash metal songs with "harmony guitars and big angelic choruses" according to frontman Tuck.
Roadrunner Records showed interest in Bullet for My Valentine and offered the band a deal. The offer was ultimately turned down, and the band signed a five-year record deal with Sony BMG and a UK licensing deal with Visible Noise. According to Tuck, they chose Sony because, "We thought that a lot more doors would be open to us." A self-titled EP was released on 15 November 2004 in the UK. Produced by Colin Richardson, it featured five tracks and marked the band's first official release. A second EP, Hand of Blood, was released on 22 August 2005 through Trustkill Records and was only available in the U.S.; the release contained one extra track than the self-titled EP, "4 Words (To Choke Upon)". Daniel Lukes of Decibel Magazine reviewed the EP by stating, "The worst part is that the music itself isn’t all that bad, for the genre." He went on to comment that the band should be "embarrassed" about the release. Zeromag's Josh Joyce complimented the band on "how technical they can get without confusing the kids".
Bullet for My Valentine's debut album, The Poison , was released on 3 October 2005 in the UK and on Valentine's Day, 2006 in the U.S. It entered the Billboard 200 at number 128,6 and attained number 11 on the Top Independent Albums chart.7 On 30 January 2009, the album was certified gold by the RIAA after 500,000 copies were sold in the U.S..8 Four singles were released from The Poison : "4 Words (To Choke Upon)", "Suffocating Under Words of Sorrow (What Can I Do)", "All These Things I Hate (Revolve Around Me)", and "Tears Don't Fall".9 Bullet for My Valentine promoted the album by touring across the world. In 2005, with increased popularity, they played on the larger Download Festival Snickers stage;10 in 2006, the band were moved to near the top of the main stage bill.11 Other tours included opening for Metallica and Guns N' Roses in the summer of 2006,12 the Vans Warped Tour, Kerrang! tour, and Earthday Birthday.
The band's performance at the Brixton Academy in London on January 28, 2006, was filmed for their first DVD, The Poison : Live at Brixton.1314 During June 2007, Tuck suffered from laryngitis, which let to an emergency tonsillectomy in July.15 Bullet for My Valentine were forced to cancel several shows, including supporting Metallica for three dates on their Sick of the Studio '07 tour on 29 June in Bilbao, 5 July in Vienna, and 8 July at the recently completed Wembley Stadium in London.16 Unable to speak, Tuck wrote that as soon as doctors cleared him he would be in the studio working on the band's next album.17
Bullet for My Valentine's second studio album, Scream Aim Fire, was recorded at Sonic Ranch Studios and was produced by Colin Richardson.18 Tuck commented at the time, "It's a lot more up tempo, a lot more aggressive".19 The album was released in the U.S. on 29 January 2008.20 It sold 53,000 copies in its first week and peaked at number four on the Billboard 200.21 Three songs were released as singles: "Scream. Aim. Fire", "Hearts Burst into Fire", and "Waking the Demon".
In support of the new album, the band toured North America and Australia in the spring of 2008 for the Taste of Chaos tour alongside Atreyu, Blessthefall, and Avenged Sevenfold. Bullet for My Valentine cut short the Canada portion of the tour and flew back home to support the daughter of James who was in hospital.22 The band performed in North America again in the summer of 2008 as part of the No Fear Tour with Bleeding Through, Cancer Bats, and Black Tide.23 In late 2008, the band toured Europe, supported by Lacuna Coil, Bleeding Through, and Black Tide.24 In December 2008, Scream Aim Fire was re-released with four bonus tracks that were recorded during the album's studio sessions, but with re-recorded vocal-lines.25
Matt Tuck spoke to Daniel Marez of Metal Hammer in March 2009 about the band's progress on writing and recording their third album. He stated that there were four or five songs that were finished and that "usually we write and record 14 tracks that I then have to write vocal lines for, but this time I’m trying to write the vocals as I write the music".25 Bullet for My Valentine confirmed in August 2009 that they are aiming for an early 2010 release for the new album, while Tuck stated that the upcoming record is "a lot more mature-sounding, it's a lot more classic. It'll stand the test of time more than both the previous things we've done".26 During the summer of 2009, Bullet for My Valentine toured across the United States as part of the Rockstar Mayhem Festival,27 alongside Killswitch Engage, Trivium, and All That Remains;28 they also appeared on the UK leg of the Sonisphere tour at Knebworth, headlining the second stage.