Rock can be a cage in many ways. It’s relatively rare for those from the heavier fringes of the genre to successfully pass through to another. If they do, they run risk of dampening the fire that first found them fame, alienating those loyal to the scene… or both. Now six albums and 15 years into their career, Bring Me The Horizon are a million miles from their deathcore beginnings. As they jibe on ‘Amo’ track ‘Heavy Metal’, they’re as self-aware as they are unapologetic.
“So I keep picking petals / All I wanna know is / Do you love me any more?” coos frontman Oli Sykes. “‘Cause some kid on the ‘gram said he used to be a fan, but this shit ain’t heavy metal”. With each more accessible release since their 2006 debut ‘Count Your Blessings’, they’ve taken a beating from metal kids for ‘selling out’. Here they are, owning the spite of the haters and feeding it back to them in a glitchy dance-rock track driven by hooks, rapping and beatboxing.
The arena-ready rock behemoth and instant classic lead single ‘Mantra’ may have misled listeners as to what to expect from this record, but its message does not. While the record holds an odyssey of diversity in sound, the lyrics play up to the notion that love is a cult that inspires extremes.
‘Medicine’ boasts the most commercial moment on the album, an anthem about the regret that comes from unconditional love in a doomed relationship. ‘Mother Tongue’ is as pure a ‘lighters in the air’ love song as you could imagine; ‘In The Dark’ is a searing electro-rock anti-ballad detailing Sykes’ discovery of the infidelity of his previous partner; and the soaring James Bond-esque orchestral flourishes on closer ‘I Don’t Know What To Say’ aches with his admiration and grief for a childhood friend he recently lost from cancer.
The various dark and mechanical intermission tracks on the album make for the most experimental peaks and exciting signposts to the future, but nothing compares to ‘Nihilist Blues’, a robotic and apocalyptic blast of Eurodance featuring guest vocals and mad noises from art-pop icon Grimes. It’s proof alone that this band can do what they want and get away with it. There’s nothing as exciting as a surprise that pays off. It ain’t rocket science, it ain’t heavy metal, it’s just class songwriting.
Bring Me The Horizon talk ‘amo’
To hear the album first along with the band’s own insight track-by-track, tune into NME 1 at 00.01am on Friday January 25.
It will then be replayed at 6pm on NME 2 on Sunday January 27. Click here to find out more about how you can listen to NME Radio.