October 29, 2020 Bring Me the Horizon – Post Human: Survival Horror (EP Review)
It was not so long ago that Bring Me the Horizon left the music world absolutely shook with the delivery of 2019’s Amo. Still dominating, the Brits return with the highly-anticipated Post Human: Survival Horror EP on Friday, October 30, 2020, via Columbia Records.
Grammy nominated, loved and loathed, Bring Me the Horizon have attained a level of commercial success that very few of their contemporaries will ever see. Traveling on a steady trajectory that began with 2008’s Suicide Season, exploded with 2013’s Sempiternal, and took a severe left turn with the aforementioned Amo, the Sheffield, England rockers have explored a lot of sonic terrain throughout their 16 year career.
This is why it is impossible to know what to expect from the quintet—Vocalist Oliver Sykes, Guitarist Lee Malia, Bassist Matt Kean, Drummer Matt Nicholls and Keyboardist Jordan Fish. Which, admittedly, is an important part of their appeal in a world full of robotic obedience. The 9-song Post Human: Survival Horror EP—co-produced by Fish and Sykes—is intended to be the first entry in a four-part EP project. Reportedly the heaviest of the four, their latest offering harnesses the anger and frustration of their earlier works, and presents them in an evolved, genre-bending format that rages in the name of hope.
The EP opens with the enormous wall of sound that is “Dear Diary,” a blitzkrieg of venom (“God is a shithead and we’re his rejects”) full of glances back to the band’s Deathcore past. The bastard child of Suicide Season and Amo, it’s Metal mayhem guaranteed to make some fans very happy. This pairs well with the known commodity “Parasite Eve,” which was released as a single/video in June. We’ve already embraced the atmospheric cyberpunk banger, as well as “Teardrops,” which was just released as another single/video on October 22nd. Thick electronic atmospherics with a Linkin Park influence provide the foundation for Sykes’ perfectly imperfect clean vocals, creating a powerful, melodic rocker. In certain moments, Sykes channels his inner Chester Bennington, providing an unintentional spine-tingling eeriness.
The monstrous “Obey” is another previously released single/video, from September. Featuring YUNGBLUD, the insanely catchy track provides a discussion of the oppression and corruption of world leaders and politicians who are “only gambling with your soul.” Next, at only one and a half minutes, “Itch For the Cure (When Will We Be Free?) serves as an introduction to “Kingslayer,” featuring Japanese rockers BabyMetal. Here, insane synths open a track that pits Sykes bestial growls against the angelic Su-Metal’s vocals as they call on listeners to “wake the fuck up!” from our artificial, corrupted, and programmed existences.
Sonically, “1×1,” which features the Nova Twins, echoes back to “Teardrops,” while the previously released “Ludens” opts for an initial minimalism. Delivered in November 2019 in conjunction with the debut of PlayStation4’s Death Stranding, the song is actually intended to be political, laying the groundwork for the EP’s grand finale. Harkening back to 2010 and the days of verbose titles such as There Is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It a Secret, they end with “One Day the Only Butterflies Left Will Be In Your Chest As You March Towards Your Death.” Featuring Evanescence’s Amy Lee in a beautiful duet with Sykes, the cinematic track explores a relationship (romantic or ecological, we wonder?) that “ain’t got a chance in hell.” Spiraling downward, it ends suddenly, leaving the thought of everything that has come before to haunt listeners.
Everything that Bring Me the Horizon touches lately is done on a whole other level, so grandiose and unapologetic as to feel wonderfully, creatively obscene. In a sense, the Post Human: Survival Horror is simultaneously more of the same and yet entirely different. A cohesive collection that is much more “wonderful life” than “mother tongue,” at nine songs it’s weighty in so many aspects. And with misery, disconnect, oppression, and more lurking at its edges, this is far from the candy floss that other artists are pushing to counter the current pandemic; which makes it bleed authenticity. For this, Cryptic Rock gives the Post Human: Survival Horror EP 5 of 5 stars.