1. Track List (105)

Bring Me The Horizon Bring Their A-Game With Experimental Album amo

camjameson
Written by camjameson
/ 7 mins read

Back in the late-noughties, I was heavily involved in the Screamo & Metal scenes of the time, playing in multiple experimental Metalcore bands & frequenting shows in dank warehouses or rented-out church-centers, actively participating in the formation of a culture that defined the era. By the time then-Deathcore band Bring Me The Horizon started gaining traction across the sea, I had already grown tired of their entire aesthetic, only really finding value in their surprisingly competent composition skills considering how young they were; Sure, maybe I was just jealous that these guys could play better than me or maybe I was annoyed by how obsessed my younger friends were with a style my bandmates & I had already graduated from, but I just couldn’t get behind their music, believing it was too tonally inconsistent & full of strange pacing issues that kept their music from being more narratively compelling, falling into the same formulaic traps bands like The Devil Wears Prada & Job For A Cowboy had been ensnared by in the same period – While I generally passed on the opportunity to consume whatever noise they put out, I had always kept my hear to the ground to observe how they’d grow over the years, noticing the same gripes being shouted throughout the industry whenever their names came up; Apparently, the last decade has not been kind to them, with most listeners claiming the band hasn’t dropped a solid record since 2010’s There Is A Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is A Heaven, Let’s Keep It A Secret., citing their increased use of Pop melodies & overall decline in heaviness as a major deterrent towards their music. My interest was piqued, however, upon the release of their latest 2019 joint amo in which critics are claiming the old BMTH have made a triumphant comeback, one I just had to see for myself & to be honest, I’m thoroughly impressed with what I got in return.

An All-Out Assault On The Senses

Right from the start, it’s clear Bring Me The Horizon have heard every piece of criticism directed towards them, adopting a much heavier, almost Alternative Metal-ish sound for the tracks of amo; From the overwhelmingly distorted, somewhat progressive structures of their hit single “MANTRA” to the unrelenting barrage of percussion elements in weird rhythmic sequences during “sugar honey ice & tea,” the general atmosphere of this album delivers a delightfully grandiose sense of scale that feels approachable for mainstream listeners whilst simultaneously satisfying the head-banging desires of older heshers, making for the most successful crossover I’ve seen of the disparate genres in quite some time – I find I’m especially fond of numbers like “i apologise if you feel something” & “in the dark” that serve almost as tone-pieces for the album at large, showcasing the band’s ability to meld nineties-era Hard Rock instrumentation, early-noughties Hot Topic style Nu Metal narrative structures & modern Post-Hardcore drop-tuning into a cohesive experience that fulfills your sonic desires entirely; Even songs like “medicine” serves to enrapture audiences with its cinematic positivity & incredibly bright electronic instrumentation, feeling like an intensified version of the brilliantly ethereal Dance Rock & Synth Pop we were blasting back in the late-noughties, letting little touches of Emo Rock seep through the cracks here & there.

Finding Their Lost Creativity Through Experimentation

Continuing on my previous thoughts of the stunning scale present within amo, so many of the tracks successfully inject elements of non-Deathcore genres into truly captivating mixes that don’t feel kitschy or underdeveloped in any way, shape or form. Where so many modern bands fail to grasp just what makes a certain subgenre interesting to begin with, Bring Me The Horizon really puts in the legwork, hitting the industry-required Future Bass & Electronica crossover stuff like the song “Ouch” whilst venturing into the more wispy, ethereal Synth Pop side of things with the anthemic “mother tongue,” even serving up a surprising dose of Industrial Trance energy with the Grimes collaboration “nihilist blues,” easily my most beloved track of the whole album thanks to its driving electronic rhythms & fantastic production values, things I wouldn’t normally associate with the band – These song don’t just work because they cater to the more New Wave-ish sensibilities of mainstream audiences, rather they hit their mark because they appropriately adapt the band’s much gloomier tones to the subgenres they’re trying to recreate, keeping their artistic integrity intact much in the way JID or Snoop Dogg hold on to their signature vocal flows even whilst rapping over the more formulaic structures of today’s Trap music. It might not be as impressive to the average listener, existing as an afterthought to their casual listening experience, but these little moments of creativity continually convince me that Bring Me The Horizon are a group worth collecting into my weekly streaming habits now, presenting majestic soundscapes with delightfully catchy & adequately-bombastic rhythms I can get my Metal-head fix from when I’m not spending my time subdividing Acid Jazz arrangements or Anime theme songs.

Sonic Maturation Done Right

Like I’d mentioned at the jump, Bring Me The Horizon experienced a pretty lengthy period of stagnant songwriting that resulted in them becoming somewhat of a short-hand statement for the overall banality of the modern Hard Rock & Alternative Metal scenes, with every other stretched-ear tattooed-knuckle band sounding essentially identical to what they were putting out. Rather than repeat these mistakes for even a moment further, amo proves there’s a spark of creativity residing within the very heart & soul of the band, coming out in waves of magnificence as they effortlessly blend the more refined techniques of today’s Pop music with a bit of Industrial Pop & drop-tuned Post-Hardcore raunchiness across the album; You can really feel it in songs like “i don’t know what to say” that start off deceptively serene with a spritely symphonic arrangement before erupting into this absolutely beefy display of distorted-guitar force, touching on elements of Evaline & even The Receiving End Of Sirens with the precession of resplendent string lines, hard riffing, dirty sonic textures & uplifting Progressive Rock structures, the perfect sort of track to round out a stylistically-intriguing album – Now, were this album to have come out back when I was still active in the whole Screamo & Metalcore scene I probably would’ve sung a completely different tune, thinking they were as inventive as bands like Consider The Thief & singing their praises for being such malleable artists. Perhaps that’s why I’m so impressed with amo at all, as it shows just how far they’ve come as musicians from the days of illegal MP3 downloads off of Myspace back when we thought cross-bangs & blackened-eyes were still cool looks to rock at local shows; Whatever the case, Bring Me The Horizon have definitely turned me from a hater to a believer with this record & I genuinely cannot wait to see what sort of imaginative genre-crossovers they delve into next, whether it’s just another batch of goofy music videos or some really poignant narrative developments in the next EP’s lyrics.

Brit Metalcore Band ‘Bring Me the Horizon’ Get Meta About How Music Should Sound On Refreshing Album ‘Amo’

taylor
Written by taylor
/ 7 mins read

I am not the type of person who listened to much Metalcore or anything too heavy such as Deathcore or Swedish Black Metal, which is what I remember about Bring Me the Horizon’s proto-days as a band. From a guttural assault of a track like “Pray For Plauges” off of 2007 album Count Your Blessings to 2014 single “Sleepwalking”, you can hear their style leaning into other territories that I had a really tough time getting into; Emo and Screamo. This is a band that is constantly adapting nonetheless. The aforementioned styles were super popular in Rock more a decade plus ago, and while I had younger siblings and friends who were all for it, I was into different scenes then. Therefore, I’m indifferent to the consequence of this band’s 180 about-face on Rock music, a change admitted by frontman member Oli Sykes – and I feel I can treat their previous music as solid examples of the sub genre conventions they were satisfying, while opinioning that this much more electronic style present on album amo is something very accomplished and worthy. There is no doubt that starting one’s Rock album with three extremely electronic numbers is going to ruffle some feathers, yet it truly should not, as these three tracks, “i apologize if you feel something”, “MANTRA”, and “nihilist blues”, are each captivating to hear – which should be the only thing that fans and listeners at large should be concerned about when assessing stylistic changes of professional musicians. To say that Bring Me the Horizon has lost their mojo is absurd, akin to saying Radiohead had lost themselves when they switched from an analog emphasis on instrumentation and songwriting to an extremely digital package. My ears obviously are perking up to Bring Me the Horizon, yet not because I’m some type of Electronic Rock aficionado, but because their sound for the most part, even with some of the Pop catering parts on the album, is really ambitious, speaking on themes of love and loss in an eclectic, genre defying way.

The First Three Tracks On Album ‘Amo’ Will Divide Fans, Though This Shouldn’t Be Happening

I don’t quite know what to call the style of the first track “i apologize if you feel something”, but I am reminded of the smoother Electronic Drum n Bass of “LTJ Bukem” and also duo “Everything but the Girl”, which is no surprise because such inspirations are British themselves. The music of England has a very rich track record of liberally mixing electronic elements into various host genres, and so Bring Me the Horizon’s creative flexing should be no surprise at all. The track builds on an ethereal mood in a short amount of time, beginning to bleed sound at it’s climax like all good and fuzzy Shoegaze should. Literally nothing to dislike here, except if you want to just stay stuck on the band’s original sound. “MANTRA” hits next with much more of a rocker attitude infused with its electronic rhythm, sounding close to the energy of a Nine Inch Nails song, but not necessarily biting off of them entirely – thanks to Oli Sykes’ clear and softly indifferent delivery. I particularly love that he is not overdoing his vocals – just because he may have the vocal range and an arsenal of screams at his disposal doesn’t mean to use these skills out of context. Rather, he projects more excited vocals on the hook, but sings straight and clean, with a slightly edgy wail that can be heard and consumed by the listener, as he speaks on the absurdity of therapy, painting anyone who would have you follow mantras as no better than a cult leader; “Imagine you're stood on a beach / water gently lapping at your feet / but now you're sinking, what were you thinking / that's all the time we have this week.” Then the electronics are truly pumped up on track three, “nihilist blues”, which strikes a perfect balance between NIN and Depeche Mode, utilizing super noticeable synths, cyber gothic motoring buzz, and an unmistakably industrial groove which features slamming rhythms. Speaking of features, Grimes lends her vocals here, as she sings for a bridge, a verse, and a chorus. This was one of the songs that turned the most heads, because it was so spellbindingly different from previous work, and I can see why member Oli Sykes says it’s his favorite track on the album. It is pretty hard to sit still as the song‘s chords begin to stab, and impossible to not move once deep inside its dark groove.

BMTH’s Standard Rock Songs Lean More Emo, And Are Fine Updates For This Genre

As I’ve stated, Emo is a little hard for me to digest, but I’m not adverse to assessing what works and doesn’t work. The 2015 album That’s The Spirit songs’ were very Pop-generic in terms of tracks “Throne”, and “Follow You”, but also excellently written and arranged on the wall of sound jam,“Doomed.” The band knows what they are doing – it’s just that I also know what they are doing when they cater too much to trending conventions. This time around on amo, I notice better writing and styles on Emo tracks such as “in the dark”, and “mother tongue.” The latter track is probably the lamest of any track on the album, due to it’s over the top Pop parts, yet it is not impossible for me to listen to a couple times, owing to some cool percussion. What’s most notable is a certain updated quality, thanks to less theatrics, and more usage of modern noises. Additionally, there is never screaming for the sake of screaming, which most diehard fans probably miss, yet I always found to be overkill in a genre which too often mixes the ultra cute with the ultra extreme.

Even Total Pop Cuts Such As ‘Medicine’ Are Pretty Painless Shots To Take, Amidst An Array Of Solid Styles

After “mother tongue”, “Medicine” would be my pick for poppiest track, sounding a lot like music you would hear from Shawn Mendes, or the rockier anthems of One Direction, but even though it contains a lot of familiar cues, such as big power chords, some semblance of motoring electronics in the beat, and a juvenile vocal delivery, it’s decent for what it is, and certainly better than Bring Me the Horizon’s Pop and Pop Punk moments of the past. I can skip past this in order to get to a ton of variety, from the Metal meets Pop Rock of both “Wonderful Life” and ironic track ‘heavy metal’, the strange brew of Foo Fighters meets Electronic Trap of “sugar honey ice & tea”, the Alternative R&B vibes of “ouch” and “why you gotta kick me when I’m down?”, the electronic and tripped up time signature of Reggae Fusion track “fresh bruises”, and the Brit Pop of final track ‘I don’t know what to say’, which approaches the sound of Oasis at times, while also employing some electro rhythm, reaffirming the stylistic direction of the album, finally exploding in an emotional string laden send off. Whether tracks are talking about love in the positive, love in the negative (Sykes’ divorce influences this subject), or regret over not visiting a dying friend on ‘I don’t know what to say’, the whole album is refreshingly rendered and you should definitely give it a stream, a spin on vinyl or CD, a play on your tape deck, a view at a concert now that they are on tour – however you listen – Bring Me the Horizon is back.

A Decade Later, I Try To Figure Out Why I Loved Bring Me The Horizon’s Suicide Season So Much

Whenever I get into a conversation with people my age about the late-noughties period of Screamo & Metalcore that took the internet generation by storm, I typically receive a mixed bag of reactions that vary from utter disgust to incredibly strong nostalgia for the once-prolific genres. Some people – usually those who were directly involved in the formation of such genres – find immense joy in the bombastic instrumentation & guttural screams of the sound, claiming it allowed them to express their innermost angst in a pleasantly bold manner, but the vast majority of people I talk to claim it’s nothing but nonsense noise used for shock value that holds no melodic integrity whatsoever – As someone who spent years performing in touring bands from 2006 to 2014 promoting these aesthetics, I feel a distinct sense of alienation from anyone who says they don’t understand it at all since my contemporaries & I had such a heavy hand in the formation of the genres themselves, my ex-Hardcore & Punk brethren & I putting our all into the most aggressive arrangements we could to gain street cred, or rather internet cred, within the fading confines of Myspace, the social media platform where Screamo & Metalcore found its biggest audience in Scene Kids. This music was the best platform we had to express who we were, allowing us to find a niche culture all our own much in the same way Trappers on SoundCloud have their own unique subculture to champion in the modern day, yet I can’t help but feel like the massive strides we made in improving the genre are lost on today’s listeners who’ve grown up with a very polished & refined Rock music industry wholly informed by Pop media; You just don’t get the same sort of blood-curdling screams & poignant narratives of teenage insecurity now that mental health issues & depression are all the rage in mainstream Pop radio, so trying to observe what made these genres so delightful is incredibly difficult as you really had to be there to understand how amazing it was joining voices with a crowd of ragamuffins at Warped Tour throwing your fists around to a bunch of drop-C tuned open-chord breakdowns & shouting about how death is preferable to living in obscurity – Of all the bands in this scene, there’ve been hundreds of groups who hold a special place in my heart that’ve yet to see the fame they truly deserve, but perhaps the band who changed the public perception of Screamo & Metalcore – specifically Deathcore, in fact – is undoubtedly Bring Me The Horizon, one of the few remaining bands of the era who’re still driving audiences crazy today. They’re a far-cry from the band they were in my day, but their success can be directly linked to their second & most prolific album Suicide Season, a record which defined a generation & split audiences straight down the middle, fracturing the scene into two distinct groups of people who would either stick to their old-world mindset or continue to shell out clones of the sound until the current day, literally a curse & a blessing marking the end of the scene altogether.

Written by camjameson  / Mar 28, 2019

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    About

    Bring Me the Horizon, often abbreviated BMTH, are an English rock band from Sheffield, South Yorkshire. Formed in 2004, the group now consists of vocalist Oliver Sykes, guitarist Lee Malia, bassist Matt Kean, drummer Matt Nicholls and keyboardist Jordan Fish. They are signed to RCA Records globally and Columbia Records exclusively in the United States. The style of their early work, including their debut album Count Your Blessings, has been described primarily as deathcore, but they started to adopt a more eclectic style of metalcore on later albums. Furthermore, their fifth album That's the Spirit marked a shift in their sound to less aggressive rock music styles. In addition, their sixth album Amo saw a shift into different genres, such as electronica, pop and hip hop.
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    Active

      2004–present

    Label

    • BMG
    • Sony
    • RCA
    • Columbia
    • Visible Noise
    • Epitaph
    • Thirty Days of Night
    • Earache
    • Shock