ARTIST: BRING ME THE HORIZON
LABEL: RCA RECORDS
WORDS: RACHAEL DOWD
We asked and they delivered. If it wasn’t clear enough already, old Bring Me The Horizon has been buried for a long time, ‘amo’ being the last and final nail in the coffin of the band we were introduced to in 2004. Bridging the gap between hardcore and mainstream pop, ‘amo’ is more or less the album that Bring Me The Horizon have been setting out to make since 2013’s ‘Sempiternal’. In thirteen songs, ‘amo’ presents listeners with a new sound we’ve yet to hear from the band. While, at some points, the ideas executed seem to clash in over-produced climaxes, Bring Me The Horizon managed to find a happy medium many old fans will enjoy while also enticing prospective listeners just hopping on board.
The opening track ‘i apologize if you feel something’ immediately introduces listeners to a sound that greatly encompasses what is presented on the overall album. With an electro-pop synth and echoing vocals weaved throughout, the effects and production on this opening track allow for the perfect preview into what listeners are in for while listening to ‘amo’. ‘MANTRA,’ the album’s lead single, fully opens up ‘amo’ and allows for old school Bring Me The Horizon fans to get that grittier sound fix they may be searching for in the band’s new music. While well-written, incredibly catchy and probably one of Bring Me The Horizon’s strongest tracks to date, it is one of the few outliers found in ‘amo’. Featuring a more heavy rock influence with a very different production from the majority of the songs presented on ‘amo,’ ‘MANTRA’ almost works more as a standalone single than a song on a cohesive album, ‘wonderful life’ having the same identity issue.
“Bring Me The Horizon managed to find a happy medium many old fans will enjoy while also enticing prospective listeners just hopping on board.”
‘nihilist blues,’ the track Oli Skyes said he listens to the most when talking this week with BBC’s Annie Mac, is definitely a track that could divide fans. As one of the most different songs to be put out by Bring Me The Horizon, having a heavy electro-pop influence with no sign of any elements that used to define Bring Me The Horizon’s sound, new fans may embrace this track with open arms while old may hit the next button. Featuring Canadian artist Grimes, the near five and a half minute song is an experience, offering clean electronic breakdowns and catchy lyrics on a repetitive loop that are bound to get stuck in your head. It’s new, it’s different and is definitely a moment on ‘amo’ that will cause listeners to decide if they want to listen on or not.
With a loop that could be played on pop radio right now, ‘in the dark’ is a good middle track that perfectly blends together these new and old influences that are constantly battling it out on ‘amo’. With heavy guitars and an incredibly pop-influenced chorus and bridge, ‘in the dark’ does not hit you in the face the second you hit play, it by no means being a standout moment on the album. However, amongst all of the different influences found on ‘amo’, ‘in the dark’ is that laidback chill moment the album really needed to break up all of the massive concepts weaved throughout the record.
Running just under two minutes, ‘ouch’ is an interlude track that truly stands out on ‘amo’. With brutally honest lyrics about betrayal and heartache, two of the main themes found on the record, the track also references lyrics found on their 2015 single ‘Follow You.’ It may be a brief moment within the thirteen song tracklisting, but it is brilliantly executed production wise and lyrically and is not a track to be overlooked.
As already one of the most talked about songs on the album from both fans and critics, ‘sugar honey ice & tea’ will most likely be a future single. Again, it’s another track that weaves together those battling rock and electro-pop elements, using the vocals to merge these influences together. Heavy percussion and distinct guitar riffs carry the entire song and Oli’s signature raw vocals are displayed in the bridge and verses, but the choruses bring in that electro-pop element, delivering an infectious moment on ‘Amo’ that makes it impossible to not bop your head to.
Amongst the battling influences, Bring Me The Horizon threw in a rather wild card of a song with ‘why you gotta kick me when i’m down’ that presents a rap influence that is not seen anywhere else on ‘amo’. With Oli Sykes rapping on the verses, shouting on the bridge and singing on the choruses, all while a strong electro-pop beat is weaved in the background, the song is the melting pot moment on ‘amo’ where Bring Me The Horizon took three completely different elements – rap, electro-pop and heavy rock – and emerged with this song in the end.
“the songs presented are new, different and brilliantly produced..”
‘fresh bruises’ is where ‘amo’ starts to fall off a bit. As a three-minute instrumental electro-pop song with the same echoed lyrics repeating throughout, it is not a track that is strong enough to stand on its own and frankly, does nothing for the cohesiveness of the album. More likely than not, it is the one song on ‘amo’ most listeners will probably skip over.
Another already widely talked about song is ‘heavy metal,’ the song that basically gives the finger to all those emo hardcore fans out there annoyed with the way Bring Me The Horizon have evolved their sound over the years. With lyrics like ‘and I keep picking petals / I’m afraid you don’t love me anymore / cause a kid on the ‘gram in a black dahlia tank / says it ain’t heavy metal,’ the message the band is sending is very clear. Featuring American beatboxer and rapper Rahzel, ‘heavy metal’ is definitely one of the more cleverly-written songs on ‘amo’ and will most likely be a song fans talk about for a long time to come.
The album’s closing song ‘i don’t know what to say’ is a surprising and unexpected moment to say the least. With a beautiful arrangement of an acoustic guitar and orchestra strings, it is the most well-written song on the whole record. Written about Skyes’ childhood friend Adam who passed away from cancer, it is a stripped back and raw moment on ‘amo’ many weren’t expecting to hear in the best way possible. At its core, it’s a song about losing someone you love, but from a broader perspective, it’s another example of the band’s brilliant genre-bending ability that has allowed them to evolve over the years.
Some may love it, some may hate it, but it can be agreed that Bring Me The Horizon took their ideas for this next chapter and ran as far as they could with them. Yes, ‘amo’ will divide some fans, but it cannot be argued that the songs presented are new, different and brilliantly produced. While there were a few moments that compromised the album’s overall cohesiveness, Bring Me The Horizon managed to melt together so many different influences and genres, taking their vision and making it completely their own. ‘amo’ may not be ‘Suicide Season’ or even ‘Sempiternal’, but that might not be such a bad thing in the end.