Bring Me the Horizon is one of those bands from the UK who have a MASSIVE presence in the United States. Beginning as one the most prolific deathcore outfits of the early 00’s, they’ve gone through quite the transformation over the years. They’ve gone from playing clubs and dive bars to, now, selling out arenas as the headliner in massive world tours. Beginning with 2010’s There Is A Hell, Believe Me, I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It A Secret, their sound began to evolve to something far beyond what anyone would have expected. While keeping a slight twinge of that heavy sound, they opted for a bit more of a nu-metal sound. With songs like “Alligator’s Blood,” “It Never Ends” and aptly-titled “F**k” which featured Josh Franceschi (You Me At Six), they proved that the more destructive side of the band still existed. Little did we know, this would be the last time we’d hear that side of the band. While songs like “Don’t Go” (featuring Valerie Bokan “aka LIGHTS” and “Blessed With a Curse,” began to develop what would be the band’s new direction. With incredibly melodies, soaring choruses and an emotional connection like no other… they’d found their sound.
Then came 2013’s Sempiternal which, some may argue, was the pinnacle of their career. This album opted for more electronics and a more radio-friendly approach but still had a certain edge to it. Spawning such favorites as “Shadow Moses,” “Can You Feel My Heart?” and “Sleepwalking,” this album was the one that turned it all around for the band… but it didn’t stop there. The motto from BMTH has quickly become “expect the unexpected.” As you should, this band is unlike any other. No one could have expected what would be coming in 2015, beginning with “Happy Song.” Completely ditching the edgier sound, they opted for something a bit more playful. Incorporating cheerleader chants, a deep hint of sarcasm and a more alternative rock vibe… this is the sound that would seal the deal for them. Now, a few months later, they’ve released their 5th studio album to mass amounts of well-deserved critical acclaim.
For those who refuse to let go of the fact that they aren’t playing deathcore anymore, you aren’t going to be happy. The fact is, they shed that skin a long time ago. Since then, this reptilian beast has been comprised of hard rock roots, an alternative edge and a splash of electronic wonder to keep you guessing. However, most, will find themselves opening their minds and coming to grip with this simple fact. While BMTH have chosen to take a way more radio-friendly approach, they continue to show the absolute brilliance between them as musicians. Throw in an occasional choir, some programmed violin parts (see “Throne”) and the aforementioned chants… well you’ve got yourself a recipe for an amazing record. However, it’s the fact that BMTH has used the hatred they’ve received as a fuel to their fire that sees the release so successful. While I’ve seen them compared to the Deftones and bands of that nature, they’re simply learning to use their influences in healthy, expansive ways and finding ways to really capture the listener. That’s the Spirit is, by far, the most emotional album the band has ever put out and I’d be lying through my teeth if I said I’ve never cried while listening to some of these tracks. In fact, “Drown,” when it first came out, hit me so hard you might have thought I’d recently lost someone near and dear to me. The fact is, that track touches on the emotions that you feel when you’re at the end of your rope. You’re one step away from stepping over the edge, never to return… you want nothing more than for someone to stop you… you feel helpless. It’s also a way for Oli Sykes to reach out and let you know that you’re not alone. You’ve never been and as long as he is living, you will always have someone to talk to. The re-imagining of this track on the album is almost miniscule but the added layers brought forth to the background vocals and slightly up-tempo speed really bring it to life in a way you could only dream.
With a title like That’s the Spirit, you wouldn’t expect this album to be as dark as it is. In fact, this is likely one of the darkest pieces of rock history ever to grace your ears. The beauty of it all is that, even though we’re met with tracks like “Doomed,” “Drown” and “Avalanche”… they all have a double meaning to them. This album is designed to take you to the darkest depths of your mind, to consume your soul and then to lift you back up so that you never feel that way again. The title is the band’s way of saying that, though all of these things happen, you can always find a way to push through it.
“Happy Song” is a song that is undeniably catchy but I still find myself almost questioning why it was chosen as the first single. I, then, realize that this is the perfect introduction. It’s got a gritty edge to it, the lyrics speak to the listener and let them know “Hey, even though life finds all kinds of obstacles to throw at you… you’ll be okay.” It’s a testament to how music can be your best friend. “Sing along a little f**king louder to a Happy Song and pretend it’s all okay” Sykes cries out as he speaks to the listener’s ability to block the world out through the power of music. Few things can give you the feelings that a great piece of music will give you.
One of my favorite tracks on the entire album is “Blasphemy.” There’s something about the way that Sykes sings this song and the overall nature of it that has me coming back for more. The venom that comes from this track, even being so subtle, is enough to send chills down your spine. It’s about the hypocrisy that we see from those who claim to follow a religion, turn around and break the guidelines of that religion and then preach to others about how they’re despicable people. It touches on the absolute distaste that Sykes has, as a whole, for these people. “You got hell to pay, but you’ve already sold your soul. It’s blasphemy, but the words don’t make sense no more.” Practice what you preach before you cast your judgement on another being. That is the ultimate message this track has to offer.
Last but not least, I couldn’t talk about this album without giving an immense amount of praise towards two chronologically perfect tracks: “Throne” and “True Friends.” These tracks go hand in hand as, in the case of “Throne,” we speak of those who look down on us. We desire nothing more than to prove them wrong, as BMTH have done time and time again. Through the mass amounts of hate they’ve received for “selling out,” they’ve come out more successful with each release. With this being one of their most radio-friendly and, thus, commercially successful singles, this the “middle finger” to those who continue to doubt them. On the other hand, “True Friends” speaks of deception. It’s an absolute statement to how people will do anything to get what they want. “True friends stab you in the front,” is a term you’ve likely heard all of your life. However, it’s never had a truer meaning than the words in this song.
I could sit and talk about each and every track on this album, why you should listen to it and what my perception of them are… but I’d rather save some surprises for you guys. Suffice it to say, I had high expectations for this album to begin with and it far surpassed those. That’s the Spirit is the first album in a good while that has shot it’s way up my favorite albums of 2015 list. If you’re looking for an album that you can really connect with on an emotional level, look no further than That’s the Spirit. This is the best display of talent that BMTH has put forth since Sempiternal and I don’t have any expectation of it stopping there. Don’t miss out on That’s the Spirit, out now, on Columbia Records! Be sure to catch them on their headlining tour with ISSUES, PVRIS and Beartooth as well (dates below!)
Bring Me The Horizon On Tour (Tickets):
10/1 – Orlando, FL – Hard Rock Live *
10/2 – Charlotte, NC – The Fillmore *
10/3 – Louisville, KY – Louder Than Life Festival *
10/5 – New York, NY – Terminal 5 *
10/7 – Worcester, MA – Palladium *
10/8 – Toronto, ON – Sound Academy *
10/9 – Montreal, QC – Métropolis *
10/10 – Chester, PA – Monster Energy Rock Allegiance 2015
10/12 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant *
10/13 – Chicago, IL – Aragon Ballroom *
10/14 – St. Paul, MN – Myth Event Center *
10/16 – Dallas, TX – South Side Ballroom *
10/18 – Austin, TX – Austin Music Hall *
10/19 – Wichita, KS – The Cotillion *
10/20 – Denver, CO – The Fillmore Auditorium *
10/22 – Mesa, AZ – Mesa Amphitheater *
10/24 – Sacramento, CA – Monster Energy Aftershock 2015 *
10/25 – San Bernardino, CA – KNOTFEST 2015