With every step of their career, Bring Me The Horizon have been subject to a tirade of criticism and treated like unwanted misfits. In their early days, they were considered posers and bottled onstage when supporting Killswitch Engage, and as they’ve been progressing towards more poppy and experimental sounds, they’ve been branded as “sell outs.”
In short, the metalhead elitist’s self-generated sworn nemesis is Bring Me The Horizon.
It seems like no matter what they do, the Sheffield quintet will always be the scapegoat of whatever community they decide to even marginally tread through on their records. The stifling intent of their detractors and naysayers hasn’t prevented them from expanding and experimenting, as is clearly evident on their daring sixth studio full-length, ‘amo’.
Following the minimalistic and euphoric opener ‘I Apologise If You Feel Something’, a track that the band have referred to as a “hymn”, we delve into familiar territory with the record’s lead single, ‘Mantra’. It’s an easy and effortless transition from their previous full-length ‘That’s The Spirit’, with its Linkin Park-esque anthemic chorus and retained alt metal edge. Later single ‘Wonderful Life’ follows in a similar vein, complete with thick guitars, and, though his inclusion on the track is fairly minimal, Dani Filth‘s banshee shrieks and gruff spoken croons leave an unmistakable imprint.
It’s when the band dip their toes and weave through other influences, however, that the record gets really interesting, and starts to display its ambition and character. ‘Sugar Honey Ice & Tea’ (a clandestine way of saying “shit”) has a seriously infectious chorus hook that’ll loop in your head for days, and ‘Nihilist Blues’ and its Grimes feature sees the band pushing heavy into EDM and grime terrain, and with it the song sticks out as a searing highlight.
‘Medicine’ is unequivocally the most sugary pop route that the Sheffield lot have pursued to date, even if its lyrical approach is a little simplistic and overdone, and they take a sassy rebuttal swing at the metalhead elitists trying to bring them down on social media and online forums in the ironically titled ‘Heavy Metal’, which sees vocalist Oliver Sykes jest “I’m afraid you don’t love me anymore / ’cause a kid on the ‘gram in a Black Dahlia tank / Says it ain’t heavy metal.”
For the most part, the band’s daringness to venture into the more obscure and bonkers ideas pays off in dividends, but there are also occasions where they come out with losses. ‘In The Dark’ doesn’t really go anywhere, the pseudo rap in the introduction to ‘Why You Gotta Kick Me When I’m Down?’ results in a bit of an awkward delivery, and the love ballad ‘Mother Tongue’ is incredibly vapid and bland, and sounds like something you’d expect a beige outfit like Coldplay to conjure up.
‘amo’ is an album that is going to have an awful lot of unjustified hate cast at it – the run up to its release alone has made that abundantly clear. Those with an open mind that are willing to accept that Bring Me The Horizon aren’t a deathcore band anymore (which they haven’t been for several albums now) will reap many rewards from this record.
It may not be their strongest album to date, but there aren’t any other bands with their background and at their status who are willing to experiment and explore fearlessly, and much like their past few LPs before it, ‘amo’ has set a blueprint for many acts to copy and refine for years to come.
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