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Bring Me The Horizon

Unique and almost historical for an English post-millennial metal band to hit pay-dirt in the States, but with Sheffield’s demonic BRING ME THE HORIZON, that’s exactly what they’ve achieved for transatlantic Top 20 sets, THERE IS A HELL, BELIEVE ME I’VE SEEN IT. THERE IS A HEAVEN, LET’S KEEP IT A SECRET {*7} and SEMPITERNAL {*8}. Not everyone’s cup of char, their subliminal, post-CARCASS entrails of growling grindcore/deathcore-metal came in for a bit of critical stick; accusations of regurgitating everyone from NAPALM DEATH to SLIPKNOT and KORN registered with these harsh and hostile hombres after their initial releases. Kerrang! were first to see their potential.
2004 saw the breech birth of the band from the home of steel; Messrs Oliver Sykes (“vocals”), Lee Malia (lead guitar), Curtis Ward (rhythm guitar), Matt Kean (bass) and Matt Nicholls (drums), more than proficient to deliver the goods – or the bads, if one can get away with a little obtuse grammar.
Oli and his hardcore ‘Horizons supplied their first and only bit of “Earache”-sanctioned grooves on debut, COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS (2006) {*5}; the Earache imprint was once home to NAPALM DEATH, et al, although Visible Noise was their UK outlet. Sounding like Lord Of The Ring’s wee-man star, Golem, if he’d born into an exploding bunch of SLIPKNOT-looking Gremlins, chief barker Sykes gets all intense, as the others lead us a merry mosh of headlong head-bashing from in what seemed from Earache to Eternity; expletives and numerous “die, die, die” subliminal (don’t play backwards!) skullf**ing from `Pray For Plagues’ and `Tell Slater Not To Wash His D**k’ to `(I Used To Make Out With) Medusa’ and `Off The Heezay’; only the latter pair calm the proverbial storm via acoustic instrumental, `Fifteen Fathoms, Counting’.
Epitaph Records took the reins for the intense quintet’s sophomore set, SUICIDE SEASON (2008) {*6}, another uncompromising record to summon Satan. Judging by their barrage of brontosaurus-esque bile and titles such as `It Was Written In Blood’, `The Sadness Will Never End’ and er… `Football Season Is Over’, the tattooed boys at BMTH had thoughts possibly elsewhere when opening up old wounds to scribe the odd song.
The aforementioned “There Is A Hell…” (2010) and “Sempiternal” (2013) cut down the growls and replaced them with emo-type punk shouts, a strategic idea that had their fanbase running out in droves to buy their records. Jordan Fish had by now replaced short-stop Jona Weinhofen (who’d come in for Ward on “…Hell…”), but although dirges like `Crucify Me’, `Don’t Go’ and `Memorial’ (on the first disc) were tempered with neo-classical intros, too many “Anthem”s spoiled the gruel. Produced by Terry Date, “Sempiternal” sprouted BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE mainstream metal-core wings, redefining their aggression with anguish, rather than guttural growls; best to rise above the parapet were the almost industrial `Can You Feel My Heart’, `Empire (Let Them Sing)’ and the anthemic, `Shadow Moses’. Begs the question, what’s next on the horizon? Ouch!
Answering the rally cry from their massive fanbase, probably peeved to find their credibility stakes lowered of late, BRING ME THE HORIZON soared high again with the concept-crafted THAT’S THE SPIRIT (2015) {*7}. Swapping nu-noise for main-stream-ing melodies (best served on child/chant-friendly `Happy Song’), the quintet had learned from their Yankee nu-metal cousins such as LINKIN PARK, LIMP BIZKIT and 30 SECONDS TO MARS. While the aforementioned track was no “Another Brick In The Wall Part 2”, the electronic swerve on `Throne’, `Doomed’ and `Drown – New’ (a Top 20 smash), won the day over the youth-baiting `True Friends’, the smoochy `Follow You’ and the FALL OUT BOY-goes-metal `Oh No’, `Run’ and `Avalanche’.
Six albums in, BRING ME THE HORIZON finally reached their zenith when 2019’s mainstream-metal/popcore album, AMO {*7}, raced to the top of the charts (US hp#14). There was certainly no shortage of anthemic chants, post-hardcore riffs, drum ‘n’ bass, orchestral manoeuvres in the daylight, and the kitchen sink. Sykes pored out his hook-line heartfelt lyrics by the bucket load (of emo tears), having recently divorced, then re-married. One doubted that anyone over a certain age might be interested in Oli’s “Love Island” lyrics, but one had to admire his and the band’s er… cahoonies for roping in polar opposites Dani CRADLE OF FILTH on sarcastic star track, `Wonderful Life’, and art-popster GRIMES to complement `Nihilist Blues’. Add to these dynamic but dangerous liaisons, ROOTS rapper Rahzel took his bow on contradiction in terms track, `Heavy Metal’, a poignant number if compared to high spots `MANTRA’, `In The Dark’ and the schmaltzy `Mother Tongue’.
© MC Strong/MCS Apr2013-Sep2015-Jun2019

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