Published Jan 24, 2019It's almost impossible to escape controversy when Bring Me the Horizon enter the conversation. The Sheffield five are one of, if not the most, divisive groups in metal, garnering praise and vitriol alike. Having said that, the constant debate orbiting BMTH has grown exhausted, as there are only so many ways in which can call someone a sell-out; so, for variety's sake, all past controversy will be ignored and the progression from deathcore to electronic rock will be taken for what it is: progress.
Bring Me the Horizon have released an album unlike any other in their discography. For the first time, guitar is no longer the primary instrument on the majority of tracks, instead being used sparsely for added texture, or to beef up synth-driven choruses. BMTH don't hesitate to introduce the new digital direction, as the album's opening track is a pre-emptive apology to all -core purists which, apropos to the issue, features no electric guitars, bass, or acoustic drums. The track, entitled "I Apologise If You Feel Something," invites listeners to explore something new, reminding us that "it should never be a prison" which, presumably, is in reference to their art form and its assigned barriers.
While guitar is featured less prominently overall, the alt-rock sound BMTH introduced on their 2015 release, That's the Spirit, is not completely abandoned. A number of cuts on amo feature that sound, including "Mantra," "Wonderful Life" and "Sugar Honey Ice & Tea." Unsurprisingly, however, these tracks are some of the album's least memorable, as they feel safe and somewhat out of place when compared to rest of amo, which is more reminiscent of a Flume release.
Conversely, the songs that dive head first into electronics, fully embracing this new territory, are some of the album's best and most memorable. BMTH are able to explore a challenging and exciting direction in a way that's vulnerable, offering a new perspective on synth music from a band rooted in metalcore. While these ambitious takes could easily be compared to Top 40 electronica, there is something that is distinctly unique about BMTH's approach.
Unfortunately, while amo has moments of absolute brilliance, highlighted by "Nihilist Blues," "Ouch" and "Fresh Bruises," it feels like BMTH weren't ready to fully commit to either sound and, as a result, we're left with a mixed bag of tracks that offers a little something for everyone but never quite enough. (Sony)