October 1, 2015 Bring Me The Horizon – That’s The Spirit (Album Review)
Sheffield England’s finest, Bring Me The Horizon, have been through a lot during their twelve years of existence. Releasing their debut record Count Your Blessings in 2006, they immediately gained attention winning the Kerrang! Awards Best British Newcomer. Spreading their sound across the ocean, by 2010 when they released their third studio record, There Is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It, There Is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It a Secret, Bring Me The Horizon had become one of the top Metalcore bands on the scene. Intriguingly enough the band consisting of vocalist Oliver Sykes, bassist Matt Kean, guitarist Lee Malia, drummer Matt Nicholls, and keyboardist Jordan Fish were still looking to continue their progression as musicians. Where many musicians would be satisfied, Bring Me The Horizon dared to continuing pushing themselves and that was never more evident than 2013’s Sempiternal. Now signed with Columbia Records in 2015, the band take it one step further on their highly anticipated fifth studio album That’s The Spirit released September 11th.
As with Sempiternal, Bring Me The Horizon has once more brought their sound to the masses in shining form. One possible reason for the success they’ have enjoyed is their unique ability to combine desperate singalong melodies with instrumental, noisy chaos and a certain indefinable something that ties it all together. The noise-factor on Sempiternal was clearly reduced in contrast to earlier outputs such as the aforementioned There Is A Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It A Secret, but this change and the success that followed it sent the band on its way to stardom.
Therefore, scaling the UK album charts to position #3 while going on to sell half a million albums worldwide and 300.000 copies in the U.S. alone, was the logical and deserved consequence of the band’s artistic evolution. But as happens quite often, the development in the sound of a rebellious rock band, when brought to the masses, tends to rile up the old-school fans, who often accuse the band of high treason. Depending on an individual’s point of view, such judgments are usually only half the truth.
Inclined listeners were introduced to several tracks off That’s The Spirit, so that there are no big surprises after running the album through for the first time. The 2014 released single and new found live hit “Drown” stayed in the top 10 at Active Rock radio for two months straight, marking the band’s biggest US radio song of their career. The next foretaste followed with the first brand new single “Happy Song,” which climbed the top of the iTunes heap along with appearances on several international billboard charts. With audio streams numbering in the millions – as well as a cubic ton of hits on video platforms such as Vevo, YouTube or Spotify, the music on this new album is flavored with elements of melancholy, reminiscent of acts like Alice in Chains or the Deftones, carried along by a Kindergarten chorus a la Faith No More.
Some might ask what was the next step for Bring Me The Horizon? The answer followed immediately with the number 1 position in the U.S. album billboard charts straight after the release of That’s The Spirits. This was followed by the pleasant anticipation that was raised immensely by unveiling the next single and video “Throne,” that cannot deny parallels to Linkin Park and will become also an essential track and long-time classic for the band’s live-setlist for sure.
In addition, two more acoustic masterpieces were introduced by videos to the public before the album release. One being the reckoning “True Friends“ which strikes home sound and lyric-wise, the same way the aforementioned tracks do. Then with “Avalanche” it is once more clear that the basic success-formula has not changed dramatically. The orchestral samples, crunchy guitars and Sykes singing voice are melding to the outstanding Bring Me The Horizon sound, this time only in a bit more of an accommodating way. The ultra-heavy-distorted guitars of Malia lost ground for a more crunchy and alternative sound and Sykes shouts and his voice-breaking screams are replaced by clean fragile singing.
Nonetheless, the most conspicuous change is seen in That’s The Spirits opening song “Doomed.” Contrary to earlier albums the basic song structure on the whole album is built upon an electronic framework laid down by keyboardist John Fish, who also produced the 11 sonic diamonds with Sykes at Black Rock Studios in Santorini, Greece and harks back a bit on early Stabbing Westward style. With “Follow You” the mandatory ballad for a potential multi-seller album like this one is aboard and one need not be a prophet to see that this song also will become a classic. “What You Need,” on the other hand, exhibits obvious Alternative Rock elements with a simple, grooving bass-line but rocking guitar riff. “Run” again follows the red line of radio-compatible Linkin Park tunes, as well as the little bit cheesy album closing “Oh no,” which comes along with surprising clarinet sounds and bar room character.
With That’s The Spirit, Bring Me The Horizon haul up their musical legislating onto a new level. With the feeling that everything in Deathcore and Metalcore sound of the early days has already been said, the Sheffield five-piece has opted for newer shores. Besides solid, ear-catching, modern rock songs the overall picture – including the powerful production and the ingenious, simple album artwork – proves that Bring Me The Horizon has reinvented their own wheel, a wheel that many Metalcore acts will attempt to follow from the second row. If this quality means high treason, then the band is guilty! That’s The Spirit is the album representative in their discography to what Metallica did with their 1991 Black album. CrypticRock gives That’s The Spirit 5 out of 5 stars.