A few months back, functioning on a sugar high from too many cheap energy drinks, I reviewed Sheffield rock band Bring Me The Horizon’s new EP Throne which showcased the eponymous track as well as Happy Song. I was surprised to say the least, less about the fact it was a sweet but short release but that I was enjoying music by a band I previously detested. Maybe it was the vocals or the generic sound but listening to the band anytime before 2013 was more of a chore than a treat. Then Sempiternal came along, bringing with it an evolution of sorts. Ditching the guitars for synths, Oli Sykes and co. came out with an album that converted many who previously dismissed them as a petty screamo act.
All of these factors led to me being not only shocked but pleasantly surprised that their latest release That’s The Spirit, the band’s fifth album, is not only their best yet but the best rock album I’ve heard all year.
Now before Indie twitter polish their pitchforks and doc martens for the huge claim I made, give me a few paragraphs to explain. Although I was surprised by how great the album was, anyone who has paid attention to the band for the past year knew they were onto something great.
The first glimpse of this was when they released Drown in December of last year, a track which marked the band’s departure from their traditional sound to a more arena rock one. Just like Sempiternal did before it, Drown caught the attention of many who would previously not bat an eyelid at the act. Then came their Throne EP which was relieving news to the newly converted, showcasing the same kind of sound that was shown to them before (you can read my thoughts on it here). Finally came their performance at Reading and Leeds last month where they played before Metallica’s headline set, impressing the thousands that attended the main stage and amassing a huge amount of hype for their biggest album yet.
The same passion and agression BMTH showed at Reading and Leeds is what makes That’s The Spirit such a fresh and enjoyable listen. Opening track Doomed may not break any rock cliches (slow, soft intro followed by a anthemic chorus) but this doesn’t make the track any less enjoyable. It’ll be a challenge not to have the song stuck in your head hours after closing track Oh No’s dance infused sound fades out.
This is quickly followed by Happy Song which has no hesitation to show what the band are making on this: heavy as fuck tunes made for arenas. Sykes chants along with a choir of children that he really wishes “that I could help but my head is like a carousel” before the choir yells and the band go into full ambush mood, screaming the album’s title. Definitely one of the album’s finest moments.
This is quickly followed by Throne and its apocalyptic synths, then what seems like 5 seconds of recovery time before True Friends starts, starring frontman Sykes showing off his amazing vocals which he has used to sing rather than scream before an orchestrated detenation takes place.
What You Need is another stand out track, reminiscent of the sound Scottish rockers Twin Atlantic showed on their sophmore album Free. Fittingly enough Twin are another band who didn’t so much lean towards an arena rock sound, rather they jumped head first into it and have definitely benefited from it. However the comparisons stop there as the disturbed nature of Sykes leads to some dark lyrical content, lines such as “you make me want to kill myself just for the fucking thrill” coming across as either chilling or cheesy depending on how you percieve it.
After a brutal history with the drug Ketamine was revealed, Oli Sykes says he came out of Rehab feeling like he didn’t want to scream anymore, he wanted to “sing from the fucking rooftops”. Just as Sykes overcame his addiction, so to have Bring Me The Horizon overcame the troubles that most bands face when changing their sound. Although hardcore fans who have been there since their metalcore days may be disapointed about the transition, there is no denying the synths and atmosphere that come in hand with them are on an such a level of quality that it’s hard to think of a band that does it as well as them. If you haven’t listened to the album yet then stop delaying it and stick it on.
They’ll be selling out an arena near you in no time.