From their humble deathcore origins Sheffield five-piece Bring Me The Horizon have embarked on a genre bending crusade with their latest offering amo. The sixth album of their fifteen-year career, it is becoming clear that they that they can do what they want and just about get away with it.
This album hasn’t been without controversy, despite less than a week passing since its release. A far cry from the scene in which the band cut their teeth and the record’s genre experimentation and poppier edge has seen long-standing fans alienated by the sound. That said, the album is nothing but self-aware, including a track ‘heavy metal’: an amalgamation of dance-rock, rap, beatboxing, with a few deathcore guitar riffs accompanying the tongue in cheek lyrics – “‘Cause some kid on the ‘gram said he used to be a fan, but this shit ain’t heavy metal”.
The experimental and increased aural accessibility of the album has followed the trend of their last few releases, demonstrating a refusal to be pigeonholed by the scene they developed and showcasing the band’s ever evolving maturity as musicians. Their ability to create compelling tracks for a wider audience path makes amo a refreshing journey.
The album kicks off slowly, with an overture of sorts in the shape of ‘i apologise if you feel something’, setting up the overall theme for the album – the turbulent emotional experience of being in love. The track showcases the immense production value of the forthcoming album, highlighting the focus on considered mixing with the combination of a clinical echoing synth and vocoder vocals.
The album then goes full throttle into MANTRA, the first single released on this album cycle and an instantaneous hit. The combination of witty lyrics, belting chorus – complete with Siri – and recognisably sturdy BMTH guitar and drum work keep the listener on their toes while flaunting lead vocalist Oli Sykes’ vocal style ranges.
‘nihilist blues’ proves all your existing assumptions of what BMTH are wrong: with a sound not out of place in an mid-nineties Ibiza rave scene, the track, coupled with Grimes’ ethereally eerie addition makes for a curious but not unpleasant listen. With the dark industrial sound peppered throughout the album in the form of experimental interlude tracks, they hint toward the mechanical innovation of their sound in the future.
The pop elements of the album, which have really riled up Instagram commenters, come in the form of ‘in the dark’ and ‘medicine’. They both prove to be satisfying listens, with the former track embodying low tempo indie pop, complete with hooky repetition in the chorus for a smoothly satisfying listen. ‘medicine’, marries classic pop vocals with a slightly heavier edge, for a radio friendly offering.
The pop sensibilities of ‘in the dark’ are immediately challenged by arguably the heaviest track on amo, ‘wonderful life’, which features Cradle of Filth’s vocalist Dani Filth. Lyrically, the track explores the pitfalls of growing up in angst-filled verse. The track stages an attack on all senses, with relenting guitar riffs that kick the song into overdrive. Another genre is introduced with ‘why you gotta kick me when i’m down’, blending a rap-style vocals and beats infused in a dubstep breakdown, complete with vocal glitches and adlib sound effects. Despite its somewhat muddled influences, the track fuses the amalgamation expertly, resulting in a uniquely dark.
Overall, amo delivers a diverse yet rounded album. The album continues the trajectory Bring Me The Horizon have been charting their entire career, consistently proving themselves to be 2-3 years ahead of the curve, even in the early days moving on from metalcore during its peak and never being afraid to explore unchartered territory. Their ability and willingness to evolve has seen them go from strength to strength and this album has the potential to reawaken the current cultural climate to the sound of rock again.By Kat Ferris