Published Sep 11, 2015While many of deathcore's practitioners have folded, it's really only those who evolved beyond brutality that have continued to succeed. Bring Me the Horizon only waited one full-length to move away from the maligned subgenre, and since then they've been moving away from metal, too. Now, on That's the Spirit, they've transcended it entirely.
Here, the British quintet ride electronic flourishes, especially on opener "Doomed," closer to heaven than the hell they'd previously evoked. The accompanying vocals — never more aggressive than a bit of forceful delivery, a stark contrast to Oli Sykes' previous growls and screams — are lifted even higher thanks to layered, higher-pitched backing melodies during the more tender moments. When the band get too close to the sun and these elements melt together, such as on "Throne," when the pre-chorus vocals mutate into the chorus' synths, the results are brilliant.
Nearly every song here explodes into a massive chorus a la Linkin Park or 30 Seconds to Mars, with only "Follow You" reigning in the force while remaining impactful. Lyrically, the album is poignant and clever, though it does occasionally falter, as on the grungy nu-metal number "Happy Song." Closer "Oh No" sounds like a song from post-reunion Fall Out Boy, feeling even more misplaced coming after one of the more guitar-driven numbers, "Blasphemy." A re-recorded "Drown," the loathing "What You Need" and heavy (for this album) "True Friends" fill out the album with much-needed dynamics, preventing it from ever getting stale even without the band's metallic side.
Bring Me the Horizon have expanded in style and status to an alt-rock band for arenas — venues they've already started filling and will no doubt continue to. With this change has come just the right amount of spirit, meaning that the sky is now the limit. (Sony)