Bring Me The Horizon – That’s The Spirit
Continuing a polarising transition away from their emo and death core roots, rising U.K. rock heavyweights Bring Me the Horizon deliver thunderous alt metal on their fifth studio album That’s The Spirit.
Currently comprised of Oliver Sykes (vocals), Jordan Fish (synth), Lee Malia (guitar), Jona Weinhofen (guitar), Matt Kean (bass), and Matt Nicholls (drums) the Sheffield six-piece formed in 2004 and quickly built a large following in the U.K. alternative music scene with the self-release of their 2005 EP This Is What the Edge of Your Seat Was Made For.
Following a string of releases on the Visible Noise label—including their widely acclaimed sophomore release Suicide Season in 2008—the band resigned to Sony’s flagship RCA label. There they released their fifth record Sempiternal, a somewhat controversial album that went on to eclipse all the group’s previous successes and propelled the band into the world of mainstream rock.
The controversial shift in the group’s musical direction came when Sykes, under the tutelage of keyboardist Jordan Fish, began experimenting with singing and exploring new musical territory. This ultimately led to group to make a jump towards a more melodic and accessible metal sound on Sepiternal. The sonic change had a big impact to say the least: alienating many die-hard alternative fans and causing former rhythm guitarist Kurtis Ward to walk away from the band altogether in 2009. But the repositioning of the group’s signature sound proved a calculated success. Not only did Sempiternal become a massive commercial success, it also broke the band in the U.S.
After catching up with Moscham in 2013, Bring Me The Horizon have been hard at work in the studio once more, this time working on their fifth album That’s The Spirit. With Jordan Fish assuming the role of unofficial producer, the band has taken a more D.I.Y. based approach to the production on this record. Further expanding on this more relaxed approach to the recording process, the band chose record the record in Black Rock Studios on the sun-soaked Greek island of Santorini. Nice.
There is little doubt that moving from small venues to packed stadium shows is continuing to prompt the group to rethink their approach to music. While the angst ridden heart-on-sleeve lyricisms and aggressively loud instrumental wall of sound of early albums are still there, That’s The Spirit’s newfound proclivity for towering riffs and melodic vocals draw scant comparison to the metal core days of Suicide Season.
With flickering synths, a rumbling rhythm section and heavy guitar drones first track “Doomed” provides a grandiose opener to the album, demonstrating the group’s dedication to pushing the sonic limits of production for a bigger and louder sound. Based on a simple lyrical premise “sing along, a little fucking louder/to a happy song” second track “Happy Song” sees the group continue to push into the world of pop music, something which has incited their older fans while enthusing the new. Evocative of alt metal giants Linkin Park, anthemic follow-up tracks ‘Throne’ and ‘True Friends’ provide exciting riffs and emotive tones.
The atmospheric electronic instrumentals of “Avalanche” underscore a confessional narrative that explores the alienation of a broken individual buckling under the weight of their own depression. Then, no doubt penned with the groups Wembley stadium filling shows in mind, “Drowned” and “Blashpemy” lay down a characteristically huge signature sound which captures the ambience and reverberation of the arena rock. It’s followed by what’s an interesting choice for a closer. The arpeggiated guitar and synth riffs as well as a four-to-the-floor drum pattern imbue ‘Oh No’ with a driving and electronic character before bringing the track brings the energy down with a prolonged outro.
Seemingly limited only by their own ambition Bring Me the Horizon continue to challenge the perceptions of fans with That’s The Spirit. With an approach to music that continues to evolve with the group’s growing status, the uncompromising stadium rock of the band’s fifth LP might not always hit the mark with niche genre fans. This said, there is little question Bring Me The Horizon has produced accessible and adrenaline fuelled arena metal tracks, which will continue to establish the band’s reputation as a cornerstone of British metal.
Buy Bring Me The Horizon – That’s The Spirit here
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