Bullet for My Valentine hits the ground running and maintains a blistering pace throughout most of Scream Aim Fire, not even slowing down for "Hearts Burst Into Fire," the first of two love songs featured on the album.
It's definitely harder and more aggressive than the band's debut album, The Poison, which had a sound evenly divided between emo and metal.
For Scream Aim Fire, Bullet for My Valentine leans more toward the latter and sounds increasingly self-assured and solid for it.
That's not to say that the group has switched genres or completely changed their approach -- Scream Aim Fire isn't an album from a band in transition, but a band in the process of evolving.
Having found a formula that works, Bullet for My Valentine expands it and incorporates different influences.
(The guitar solos in "Waking the Demon" are comparable to those on Avenged Sevenfold's City of Evil, while Matt Tuck's vocals on "Deliver Us from Evil" bear enough resemblance to Gerard Way that they induce a double take.) But thanks to Scream Aim Fire's pacing, it can be difficult to appreciate the band's growth.
The songs breeze by at the beginning, slow down for two or three tracks in the middle, then pick up abruptly toward the end.
A more even distribution between fast and slow songs would have done the album a world of good.
Fortunately, Bullet for My Valentine ends the album effort with "Forever and Always," an arena-ready power ballad whose unwavering midtempo beat is steadying after the frenetic songs that precede it.
Its concert-closer feel isn't coincidence -- not only does the song bring Scream Aim Fire to a satisfying conclusion; it also begs for an encore.