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Since their inception in 2003, Welsh quartet Bullet for My Valentine have been taking cues from '80s metal bands and the punk-infused metal of the new millennium to make melodic, metallic, dark rock songs. Originating from Bridgend, South Wales, the group consists of childhood friends Matthew Tuck (vocals/guitar), Michael Padget (guitar/vocals), Jason James (bass/vocals), and Michael Thomas (drums). Everyone in the group, with the sole exception of James, previously performed together for a few years in Jeff Killed John. One day before entering the recording studio, though, Jeff Killed John's original bassist abruptly walked out, effectively breaking up the band with his exit.
Regrouping under the new name Bullet for My Valentine (with James on board), the guys reworked their sound and were signed at their second gig by London's Visible Noise. They released a self-titled EP in the U.K. in November 2004, and their debut album, The Poison, appeared the next fall. One year later they partnered with an American label, Trustkill, to begin releasing their material in the U.S. As a result, Hand of Blood - essentially a deluxe version of the band's first EP - was issued to American audiences in August. That same year, Bullet for My Valentine won Kerrang!''s Best British Newcomer Award and headlined the magazine's XXV tour. The U.S. release of The Poison followed in early 2006, as did a nationwide tour in support of Rob Zombie, and the album eventually sold more than 500,000 copies in America alone. Meanwhile, Bullet for My Valentine headed back to the U.K. in June for a third appearance at the annual Download Festival.