Bring Me the Horizon’s ‘amo’ is a diverse album for a diverse band
Bring Me the Horizon is a band that is not tied down to a certain genre; the group never said they would make metal music for the rest of their career, and yet their own fans are criticizing them because of their musical evolution showcased in their latest album, amo. Back in 2006, they released Count Your Blessings, their first full-length album. It’s a wild, sporadic deathcore record that shatters the earth with double bass and heavy riffs. But apparently, BMTH did not want to be viewed as a metal-core band forever, as they started to transition from that to a more pop sound. On their third record, There is a Hell Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There is a Heaven Let’s Keep It a Secret, the deathcore sound is still prevalent, but we hear more open chords, choirs, orchestras, and even electronics.
But it wasn’t until 2013’s Sempiternal when their fans saw the real progression. Jordan Fish, a new member in the band, added synths and electronic progressions to the sound no one had heard from them before. It was nowhere near as heavy as their last three records, and even had ballads like “And the Snakes Start to Sing.”
Flash forward to 2015, BMTH released their fourth record That’s the Spirit. The screaming, guttural growls and double bass were gone. That’s the Spirit saw the band in a new light; not pop stars, but alternative rockers. Heavy guitars were still there, but the riffs were groovier and driving. Many fans were confused and some even felt betrayed. On their new full-length album amo, the band goes further down the rabbit hole of experimentation. There are eerie experimental songs, fantastic rock songs, and a vast diversity in genres. However, the album is a bit tainted by corny lyrics and generic melodies.
Same band, new sound
Right out of the gate, amo hits the listener with the experimental pop song “i apologize if you feel something.” The track leads with heartfelt lyrics about love along with atmospheric synths and sounds. In the middle of the track, the percussion comes in and increases the intensity, making the song feel more urgent. Overall, this is the track that fans need to listen to first; if they aren’t into this, then they’ll only like about three songs on the entire album. The track does a fantastic job of letting the listener know what they’re getting into.
amo still manages to fill the album with rock bangers that might please the metal fans within the band’s demographic. These songs don’t feel like they’re pandering to their old audience, but instead, it feels like these sounds are still a part of the band’s identity. “MANTRA” is a groovy anthem about not blindly following others and people making up their own minds. However, the song isn’t completely guitars and loud vocals. It contains a very poppy bridge that changes the pace of the song. It feels absolutely right in the mix. “wonderful life” is another track that will make their old fans feel at home. The song has heavy metal tones with a catchy riff that singer Oli Sykes is practically screaming, which will certainly please their older fans.
Around a quarter of the way into the record, I began to notice how completely different each song is. This will throw listeners off at first. However, after around four listens I started to understand it more. It’s very jarring at first how many different songs there are, but with more listens it becomes an enjoyable experience. BMTH makes these different songs flow together cohesively and then it is not as jarring as it originally seems.
Some of my favorite moments on the record came from the unique sounds BMTH had never made before. “why you gotta kick me when i’m down?” highlights the dark atmosphere the album captures, but it’s the chorus that brings the darkness home. After singing the title in the chorus, Sykes spits out lyrics while the synth line floods the mix with its dark tone, creating an experience that is unlike anything they’ve made before. A similar moment is found on “nihilist blues” after the first chorus when the house music synths enter with the thumping percussion. The production here is so well done, which makes this a truly dark pop song. Grimes is featured on “nihilist blues” as well and her dreamy voice adds another dark tone to the track.
One of the most unique moments in the record is on the song “heavy metal.” It appears in the chorus with the lyrics “I’m afraid you don’t love me anymore ‘cause the kid on the ‘gram said he used to be a fan but this sh** ain’t heavy metal.” The song has a great groove that kicks it off along with a very catchy melody. It also features amazing beatboxes by Rahzel from The Roots that flow incredibly well in the song.
The album ends with yet another unique track in the BMTH discography, “i don’t know what to say.” It starts with a fierce orchestra and flows into a slow acoustic ballad seamlessly. The track itself is a moody culmination of every sound this record had to offer, from the experimental pop sounds to the heavy guitars and catchy hooks. This track is a triumph for the band.
Since BMTH has incorporated a pop sound into the music, I couldn’t help but hear the radio-friendly sounds, with the predictable melodies and pop-sounding percussion of “in the dark.” The guitars on the track are far from unique and completely lifeless. I appreciate the sound they were after, but it felt way too corny for BMTH. “medicine” also falls into the same trap but to a lesser extent. It feels more BMTH than “in the dark” will ever be. “mother tongue” is the next victim. This is probably the catchiest and most predictable cut on the album; it will get stuck in anyone’s head whether they like it or not. The main problem with these tracks is that they’re predictable and do not have the depth in production that the others do. They are not bad songs by any means, they just sound average compared to the others.
A word of caution
Many of the fans do not like this album purely because it is not metal, which I find to be absolutely ridiculous. Bands can and should change their sound. It makes their discography interesting and allows them to make the music they want to make. This may not hook the listener right away, but give it two or three listens to see if it’s right for you. If you want to branch out your music taste, then go for this album right now. it is perfect for you. But if you’re only into rock and metal, maybe give the album some time and jam out to their early records.
Recommended if you like:
Of Mice and Men
“why you gotta kick me when i’m down?”
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