A frequently startling and ambitious third LP from the young kings of British metal.
Mike Diver 2010-10-12
Bring Me the Horizon’s opening gambit, the This Is What the Edge of Your Seat Was Made For EP, was an uncommonly good debut. At the beginning of 2005 it left me breathless, and promptly earned itself a near-perfect review.
Fast-forward five years, and they’ve experienced their share of amazing highs and crippling lows. The Sheffield five-piece – metalcore, but not strictly metal to the core – lost a member in 2009, departing guitarist Curtis Ward replaced by former Bleeding Through axe-mangler Jona Weinhofen, and attracted controversy when frontman Oli Sykes was alleged to have assaulted a female fan in Nottingham in April 2007. The story generated several headlines across the music press, but charges against the singer were eventually dropped. Still, pressure was expectedly felt – and it was a heavy load that would have broken lesser bands.
If anything, though, the fury directed the way of this still young band – Sykes is only 23 – just focused them on refining their music, making it both as brutal as possible but also retaining the crossover appeal that made their first recordings so instantly rewarding. What 2006’s Count Your Blessings lacked in clout, 2008’s Suicide Season made up for. The band’s second album is a bruising experience to this day, and this third LP takes things further still. Recorded in Sweden and California, it’s the group’s most ambitious offering yet, a collection that bites harder than anything they’ve previously issued but which is equally eager to kiss everything better.
F*** is a great example of their accomplished mix of tempestuous noise and cooling comedowns – as Sykes screams bloody murder, You Me at Six’s Josh Franceschi’s backing vocals persuade the subject of the piece to "come a little closer, tell me those three little words". At its centre, it’s a love song; on the surface, a riotous rant of lust: "Let’s f*** ‘til our hearts give up". Similarly impressive are Anthem, which pairs holler-along gang vocals with riffs so raw the UK mainstream’s heard nothing so savage since Gallows’ breakthrough debut; Visions, less a call to arms, more a full-blown casus belli; and the 65daysofstatic-style electro-glitch flourishes of opener Crucify Me. And everything’s sequenced fantastically well – this is an album ‘proper’, not a clutch of tracks arranged in an arbitrary order.
They’ve not done everything the easy way, but Bring Me the Horizon today stand at the very vanguard of the UK metal scene. This third album takes risks with confidence, and the end results are never less than startling.