Released Via Columbia
Genre: Alternative Pop Rock
2. Happy Song
4. True Friends
5. Follow You
6. What You Need
11. Oh No
Once again we delve into the realm of controversy. That well-trodden road that many bands walk. To one side, there are people throwing them roses and on the other there are angry detractors who will sling shit and insult said band's every move. If this road was named after one band, it'd probably be the UK's Bring Me The Horizon. Lest we forget; this band was once rooted firmly among the Deathcore and Metalcore fraternity and were first considered to be an easy target for almost every journalist that needed a band to take a pot-shot at. The odd thing that happened was that they became unlikely darlings of the UK scene. Opening for Machine Head on an arena tour, headlining arena tours of their own and even starting to get some acclaim for their recorded musical efforts. Then they released 'Sempiternal' in 2013, and the floodgates opened. Joined by a new keyboardist and winding down the heaviness to a degree where the music was more electronic Metalcore. Not only that, but as a review will attest to on this very site; it was a great album. Not perfect (what album is??) but it was a step in a direction that many could get behind.
Of course, the band still got shat on by all those who were so inclined, naturally. My own viewpoint has long been to offer the band respect, regardless of my dislike for their old material. After all, this is a genre where we constantly tell people to do things their way and BMTH have done that throughout their career. They could've changed deliberately into a Death or Black Metal band, they could have called it a day, but they never did. You might not like it, but it demands respect. Now we're on the cusp of the follow-up to 'Sempiternal' and I'm a curious man, wondering if the outsiders among outsiders can do it again and make me tip my hat to them.
This is as far as the optimism goes before I pressed play on the new record. Expecting more of the same? Expecting a return of their heavier days? You'll be disappointed. Expecting a continuation of 'Sempiternal'? Once again I have to be the bearer of bad news. Bring Me The Horizon appear to have completely detached from their Metalcore beginnings in order to try and chase down bands such as Muse or Linkin Park.
"Wait, that sounds alright! Muse and Linkin Park had some good rockin' tunes back in the day" If that is your first thoughts here, again I offer a comforting arm. When I say that BMTH are taking that route, I'm referring to those two band's most poppy moments.
From the opening song 'Doomed', there is more electronic noises and sterile beats than there are riffs. In fact, any trace of heaviness seems to be an afterthought in the background. The album conceptually deals with depression and the overcoming of said condition. There's a scream to be heard in 'Happy Song' but it is thin, it sounds overproduced and is frankly a bad Chester Bennington impersonation. The rest of frontman Oli Sykes' singing is good, or would be if he wasn't singing in that god-awful whining tone that we hear from every pop rock band and singer-songwriter that is trying to come across as sensitive souls, trying to relate to all the angsty, annoying teenagers out there.
Speaking of overproduced crap and intentionally poppy tween anthems; first single 'Throne' is enough to make you vomit. Sounding like it's evolved from Linkin Park's worst moments (Of which there are many!) it's so shamelessly written as a single that you would think the band were vying for a headline slot at T In The Park and a number one in the singles charts. Look out for this band doing the single for the next Transformers film! The lyrics are absolutely retch-inducing. The chorus builds to nothing more than keyboard/auto-tune trickery that you would expect of some dance remix or two-bit pop star.
'True Friends' gets ridiculous. There are strings here and a little bit more guitar, but it feels as though the guitar is only there to assure you that guitarist Lee Malia is still in the band. The riff is nothing, just a typical follow-the-bass piece of crap. There's a little bit more aggression in the vocal, but the lyrics make My Chemical Romance look macho. 'Follow You' runs with a bloody RnB beat for Christ's sake! Sounds like something Olly Murs would release if he became sad for a day.
Really, from there on out it is easy to see that Bring Me The Horizon have finally turned their back on any semblance of metal. If that's what they want to do, fair play to them, but holy crap this album sucks worse than a broken Dyson. It sucks worse than a hooker with lock-jaw. Why is it terrible, you might ask? It would be very easy to just say "That's his opinion, he just doesn't like that style of music" but what it comes down to is a flat-out spit in the face. Just when this band were starting to bring some people around to their own Metal, just when some of the detractors were being put in their places, the band have turned their backs on the UK metal scene and the rest of our world in order to go in search of fools gold in the form of herd-based mediocrity.
So I have to find myself saying this phrase that I often scold others for;
Bring Me The Horizon are not Metal.
Start looking for another UK metal band to take the helm. May I suggest Sylosis, Savage Messiah, Ethereal or Shrapnel?