This British band have been on the tip of my tongue for years but have never made an impact on me. The group have sold extremely well globally through two releases thus far. Prior to this new record the group have firmly embraced brutality, pushing it to the max in terms of frenzied songwriting, over the top screamo vocals countered by weighty slams of guitar (noise?). Fans have been posting their paranoia of the band going more mainstream with more clean voices, synths and a slower pace. With their panicked frustration comes my astonished surprise. For the first time in their career Bring Me The Horizon are not only listenable but have collaborated to make one of the finest albums of the genre.
The group took most of 2012 off to concentrate on this recording and that focused determination shines on "Sempiternal". The band spent time in an isolated section of the Lake District in England to write the album, something the band preferred to do with previous sessions. This record was produced by Terry Date (Pantera, Overkill) at Angelic Studio in Oxfordshire. The album comes to light on new label RCA in the Europe and Epitaph in the US. The band parted ways with guitarist Jona Weinhofen, effectively replaced by full time programmer/keyboardist Jordan Fish prior to the recording.
Bring Me The Horizon sounds like a different act altogether now, something singer Oliver Sykes confirmed by saying "this album sounds one-hundred percent different than the 2006 debut". Gone is the chaotic formula, that complete disregard of anything remotely catchy or "groovy". Instead "Sempiternal" is firmly entrenched in melody, from the programming and rhythms to Wilkes vocal patterns and gang singing. The cohesive arrangements have to be credited to Jordan Fish's ability to weave the songs together with accessible keyboards and almost nonstop synths and programming. It is this rich texture that just gels everything into a polished and perfected record that is extremely dark and aggressive in the writing yet so commercially acceptable due to the layers of hooks and melodic injections.
The band make no compromises in their anti-religion campaign. The writing is extremely rigid in its contempt at anything religious. Lyrics like "when you die the only kingdom you'll see is two feet wide and six feet deep" are oppositional yet anthemic due to the gang vocals. The unity is prevalent throughout, often accompanied by an addictive melody or vocal line that embraces something rebellious. "Can you tell by the look in our eyes, we're going nowhere" or "we're surrounded by vicious psychos" are perfectly placed chorus anthems that work extremely well with a unison of vocal chants and keyboards. Think of Bullet For My Valentine's vicious riffs crossed with Atreyu's pop sensibility albeit with more anger and a vibe of frustration with the vocals.
The whole album is pieced together in a way that displays all of the influences that have been absorbed into the BMTH collective--electronic, pop, hardcore, classic rock and the heaviest of metal all come to light at some point. "Shadow Moses" is extraordinary, an absorbing track that ascends with brilliant melodies and vocal lines that will attract new fans like myself. It is too addictive not to. "House Of Wolves" is dominating in its fine grind, a cut that highlights the group's previous angst yet still remains a more focused effort that is less constrictive in its hardcore delivery. "And The Snakes Start To Sing" is a 180 turn on the normal Horizon sound, this one more modern rock with enhancing synths that make it one of the better songs on the album. "Antivist" may be the most aggressive song of the band's career, a fevered pitch that is laced with profanity and outrage, extroverted and brutal in both writing and formula.
We are over fifteen years into the metalcore movement and Bring Me The Horizon are the game changers. The band and this album alone are enough to make us rethink the metalcore name and expand upon it. "Sempiternal" is genre defying and easily an album that will influence future artists regardless of which genre they represent. The evolution of these Brits is awe inspiring and one can only fathom how great this band's discography is going to be once we look back in twenty years. It is simply mandatory listening and a symbol of some sort of salvation.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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