Bring Me The Horizon – ‘amo’

By Yasmin Brown

Bring Me The Horizon fans have spent the past three years twiddling thumbs waiting for the follow up to ‘That’s The Spirit’ and, now that it’s here, it’s hard to know what to say.

If you were expecting anything like what BMTH have produced in the past six years, you’re in for a surprise. Whether that’s a pleasant surprise or a nasty shock is purely going to be down to the individual. This is a record that will undoubtedly polarise fans, who will either embrace this new direction or immediately dismiss it, as they brazenly throw around unfounded accusations of selling out.

‘amo’ is a mess of sounds. It combines elements of heavy metal, brass bands, synths, and some serious club vibes, and no song is anything like the one you were listening to just moments before. If you think the soft, synth-heavy intro ‘I Apologise If You Feel Something’ is going to give you any idea of what lies ahead in the next 12 tracks, you’re sorely mistaken.

That’s not to say that ‘amo’ is by any means a bad album, in fact it’s quite the opposite. While, sonically, it’s a jumbled cacophony of experimentation, the album consistently addresses the intensity of love at both ends of the spectrum, and tells a coherent story from start to finish.

Whether it’s the anger and cynicism that we hear in the anthemic, arena ready ‘Mantra’, (reminiscent of that which we came to love with 2013’s Sempiternal), the blatant and unapologetic referral to being cheated on in ‘Ouch’, or the sarcasm, hatred, and regret you sense in ‘Medicine’, this record is bursting with emotion. And as you make your way through each track, it’s almost impossible to not let this emotion swell inside you, too.

It’s confusing, yes. ‘Nihilist Blues’ – a five-and-a-half minute collaboration with producer Grimes – sounds more like a Grimes track that features BMTH than the other way around, and ‘Ouch’ relies heavily on dance vibes and vocal distortion. These tracks are so far removed from the Bring Me The Horizon that we learnt to love up until now, but ultimately it doesn’t really matter. It might not make much sense, but somehow it still feels authentic and you’re left convinced this is exactly where this band have been destined to land all along.

With that in mind, the tracks that feel most out of place are those that implement elements of older BMTH records – and yet even then, a solid effort has been made to propel these tracks towards our modern day music industry. ‘Wonderful Life’, featuring Dani Filth of Cradle of Filth, wouldn’t sound too out of place on ‘Sempiternal’, but the addition of the brass band adds a new layer that we haven’t heard from BMTH before, highlighting their growth over the years and their refusal to become stagnant.

The record is catchy, specifically tracks such as ‘Sugar Honey Ice & Tea’ and ‘Why You Gotta Kick Me When I’m Down’, which both pull from hip-hop influences and combine them with a more classic Bring Me sound before softening for ‘Mother Tongue’. For once, anger evades front man Oli Sykes, addressing the more positive sides of love.

All sceptical opinions aside, one fact that cannot be disputed is that Jordan Fish has done a monumental job of producing this record. It’s an explosion of sounds, a shotgun shot in the dark with the shrapnel landing in all musical directions, but production wise it’s close to flawless. Whatever you may think of this album – whichever end of the spectrum you stand on – it has been expertly put together.

And frankly, if you’re to take penultimate track ‘Heavy Metal’ at face value – a track that pointedly remarks on comments of disdain made by fans from the ‘Suicide Season’ days – you’ll realise that this band are well aware that some fans won’t like it, “and that’s alright”. As if to really hammer this point home, the band throws in some beatboxing towards the end of the song – a final nail in that metalcore coffin that confidently says, ‘good riddance’. 

 ‘amo’ closes with ‘I Don’t Know What to Say’, a soft, acoustic track that takes this final opportunity to add more sounds to the mix. Making use of string instruments to see the album out, it leaves you feeling a little sad, unfulfilled, and without resolution. Metaphorically, this makes sense, as that’s how most relationships will end – and suddenly, despite the brass and the strings and the beatboxing and the screaming, it all comes together.

YASMIN BROWN

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