bring me the horizon sets their new sound free on Amo
Fifteen years of being a band & three career altering albums later, Bring Me the Horizon puts out their first number one album.
When I was a senior in high school, I spent my very first paycheck from my very first retail job on a ticket to see Bring Me the Horizon in concert. I remember turning my nose up to them for so long because I, like most maybe, wrote them off as just another screamo band. I remember ignorantly thinking that I wasn’t “weird” like the kids were that listened to them. The turning point for me was when Youtube recommended the “Drown” music video to me. I only clicked on it because I was sick of it showing up in my recommended list. I absolutely loved the song and the video, and I was really mad that I did. I clicked on the “Follow You” video right after and then I was reminded why I was so apprehensive about them in the first place. “Follow You” is one of my favorite songs but the video concept I hate so much. Sorry, Oli Sykes, I am truly just weak.
Two months before my graduation, I saw Bring Me the Horizon live for the first time. I remember feeling anxious about my college choice, and didn’t have any friends I could really talk to, and I was truly was just waiting for graduation. The show felt like a release of all the stress I had in my life at the time. That was the moment when I truly felt connected to Bring Me the Horizon.
Throughout their 15 year history, BMTH has always pushed boundaries with their sound, but their changes started to gain attention in 2013 with the release of Sempiternal. With the release of Sempiternal and the addition of keyboardist Jordan Fish, the band introduced a slight electronic sound to their pounding, in-your-face riffs that lead off from the third album There is a Hell, Believe Me, I’ve Seen It... On Sempiternal, Vocalist Oliver Sykes conditioned his voice to clearly resonate with the listener, but the song is still loud and accompanied by painful lyrics.
Whether they planned it or not, I truly believe that a change of sound was the best thing that could happen for BMTH. The band didn’t jump right into a new sound but rather gently took their fans along through their transition period.
On their fifth album in 2015, That’s the Spirit, the band completely changed over into an alternative rock act, versus a metal/hardcore act they were brought up on. That’s the Spirit took a step further in the pool of electronic experimentation without canceling out the hardcore guitar and drum elements completely. That’s the Spirit is a well-rounded album that took the band a step forward into mainstream appreciation. Teenagers like me who turned their nose up to anything even remotely “screamo” were finally listening. Personally, I think That’s the Spirit turned out to be a cornerstone of their ever-expansive career, and I still associate it with how I was feeling at that time in my life.
That’s the Spirit is the perfect middle for what was ultimately to come on their sixth album, Amo. With the lead single “Mantra,” the aesthetic feels like another story from That’s the Spirit. With the exception of “Medicine,” every single made fans believe that this was going to be a follow-up to That’s the Spirit. “Medicine,” their final single, came out a few weeks prior to the full album release, and wasn’t quite what people were expecting. Easily the most pop-y song on the album, but it’s still a good song. The lyrics are full of revenge, and delivered with ease. The release of this final single came off as a warning. These singles were not a reflection of what the album was ultimately going to sound like.
To be honest, after one listen to Amo on release night, I was convinced that I hated it, and even tweeted about how much I didn’t like it (now deleted, of course). The next day, I picked up the album again and played it in the car, all the way through. I still had some dislikes here and there but nothing much against the band’s new sound, though I did think the album could do without the features. The only feature I really, really liked Rhazel’s on “Heavy Metal.” The feature complemented the song well, and acted as a big ‘screw you’ to the haters.
Personally, the most stand out song on the album is “Nihilist Blues,” a pinnacle of Bring Me The Horizon’s new direction, and featuring the ever-edgy Grimes. It’s refreshing to hear the band do something so out of the ordinary. “Nihilist Blues” seems to be ripped from Dance Dance Revolution and Porter Robinson’s side project, Virtual Self.
One of my favorite songs on the album is “Sugar Honey Ice & Tea” (on the third listen, I figured out what the title really meant). I would recommend this song for fans who still can’t wrap their heads around this new sound. My second favorite is “Why You Gotta Kick Me When I’m Down?” Oli seems to adopt a quick, hip hop-influenced flow onto his verses. The verses at the end of the song cut like a knife as the song wall collapses one more time.
The band clearly wanted to turn their sound on its head, and it successfully did that in Amo. If you’ve been weary to listen to Bring Me the Horizon, now is a good time to start listening.
And BMTH, come to St. Louis sometime soon so I can see you, thank you.