Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Review; Bring Me The Horizon - Sempiternal

Track Listing:

1. Can You Feel My Heart
2. The House Of Wolves
3. Empire (Let Them Sing)
4. Sleepwalking
5. Go To Hell, For Heavens Sake
6. Shadow Moses
7. And The Snakes Start To Sing
8. Seen It All Before
9. Anti-Vist
10. Crooked Young
11. Hospital For Souls

Bring Me The Horizon are the ultimate marmite band; you either worship the ground they stand on or you want to lob things at them when they support your favourite band on tour. I will say, I've never been their biggest fan, but when I heard a lot of talk about the new album being their best work and quite surprising, I thought I'd give it a listen and a review.

Opening track 'Can You Feel My Heart' instantly pulses with electronic elements at the forefront of the music, with a decent bass accompaniment underneath it. The first thing that strikes though is Oli Sykes' voice, which surprisingly is impressive. Oli's voice has always been something that put me off the band on record or live before, so this is a welcome surprise, and it's one that is assisted by good lyrics. The song does not scream "This is metal!" but it is catchy, it is very sing-along, and ultimately it is very good. This listener is definitely reminded of Korn's 'The Path Of Totality' album.

The heavy riff makes it's first appearance in the second song, which is where the BMTH that we all know rear their heads. On saying that, the band are clearly on to something with the electronica experimentation, which has been utilized to good effect, with little mid-song interludes. Other than that, all the BMTH elements are on show through the record; Hardcore-tinged riffs, huge breakdowns, scream-along gang vocals and big arena-sized choruses.

The major improvement in the band's sound, to this listener's ears, is that the band don't seem to be trying to pass off as Deathcore, a tag which they never seemed musically heavy enough to carry on past albums. Rather, this is a solid experimental electronica-infused Metalcore album. The band are clearly writing for their fans, not to sway the naysayers, and neither they should.

The obvious thing that must be pointed out is that there will be many who consider themselves 'True Metal Fans' or 'Kvlt' that will scream "That's not metal!" upon listening to this album, if they do listen to it. Although this is not Emperor, Cannibal Corpse, Slayer or Iron Maiden; this album, indeed this band are metal. There's scream vocals, there's heavy, distorted guitars, there's a fuck-you attitude, and they're doing it their own way. It might not be the kind of metal everyone likes, but it is metal. Fact.

On thing this album has going for it is that it's full to the brim of live-venue anthems, be it for those wanting to headbang, scream along or sing along, the fans will enjoy this live. From the opening song, to 'Go To Hell, For Heavens Sake' and 'Shadow Moses', the contents of this album will slay live, and that's coming from someone who has experienced them live twice and did not enjoy it at all!

The songwriting on this record is head-and-shoulders above anything in their back-catalogues, a claim they can make without having to break away from their style of the past, which rather than be abandoned, has been refined and improved. There are some great, catchy lyrics on this record, including "Signal the sirens, rally the troops, Ladies and Gentlemen; it's the moment of truth"

There are the odd niggles here and there, including the song 'And The Snakes Start To Sing', a ballad which does fall upon the ears as adolescent melancholy and melodrama. Oli's voice doesn't suit the song very much either. The song 'Seen It All Before' suffers from a similar fault, though it is a bit more upbeat in its chorus. However the record storms back into form in the very hardcore-influenced 'Anti-Vist', which, aside from being a good song, wins this listener over with the echo effect on the word 'cunt' as another one of the band's trademark breakdowns comes in.

Whether a fan or not, this album deserves a listen. Make what you will of it. Even on first listen, this album has my attention, and my approval. This may well be Bring Me The Horizon's year as far as mainstream metal goes, and it will fuck a lot of people off to see them reach the heights that this album demands. They may be a love-or-hate band, but they're on the rise as UK metal heavyweights. Look out, Bullet.


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